The main character in the short story “The First Day” by Edward P. Jones is the narrator. As the story is told through her perspective, we can characterize her based on her thoughts and behavior. The narrator is presented during a single episode of her life. 

The narrator’s mother is another important character in the story. The narrator’s perception of her mother changes over the course of the story, as she recognizes that other people see her mother as different. An important trait which characterizes the narrator’s mother is her determination to give her daughter a good education. The relationship between the narrator and her mother changes by the end of the story, as the narrator enters a world to which her mother does not have access.

You can read a full characterization of the narrator and the narrator’s mother in the following pages.