Structure

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Beginning

The short story begins directly with what seems to be an inner monologue by the narrator: “It’s not my fault. So you can’t blame me. I didn’t do it and have no idea how it happened.”. The introduction functions as a narrative hook. It hooks readers’ attention because the three short sentences do not reveal anything about the character’s background or conflict.

From the next sentences, the conflict is revealed as we find out the narrator is unhappy about her daughter’s skin color: “…something was wrong. Really wrong. She was so black she scared me. Midnight black, Sudanese black. I’m light-skinned, with good hair…”

Backstories about the narrator's family reveal that she comes from a light-skinned family which could easily pass for white: “You should’ve seen my grandmother…

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Middle

The middle of the short story is a narrative about the narrator’s relationship with her daughter Lula Ann, creating a tension point through presenting the conflict she had had with the girl being born dark-skinned: “I hate to say it, but from the very beginning in the maternity ward the baby, Lula Ann, embarrassed me.”

The narrative presents an extensive backstory about Lula Ann’s childhood.. Tension increases as we learn that the narrator considered killing or abandoning her baby because of the color of her skin:  “I know I went crazy for a minute, because – just for a few seconds – I held a blanket over her face and pressed.”

Past events are mixed with the na…

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Ending

The ending of the story conveys the narrator’s regrets for how she raised her daughter and how she treated Lula Ann on account of her skin color: “If I sound irritable, ungrateful, part of it is because underneath is regret.”; “I remember when she had her first period and how I reacted. Or the times I shouted when she stumbled or dropped something.”

The chronology is fragmented as the mother mixes her past actions with present events. She includes another backstory about how she was tough on her daughter: “By the tim…

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