Structure

The short story “The First Day” by Edward P. Jones has a linear plot structure.

The plot is chronological, with the exception of a flashback of the narrator overhearing a swear word and her mother slapping her for using it. The flashback is an occasion for the narrator to reflect on her mother’s stern character: “This is my mother”.

The story begins in medias res with the narrator and the mother walking to school one September morning. The climax of the story is foreshadowed by the line: “long before I learned to be ashamed of my mother”. Another foreshadowing element can be found in the sentence: “And seeing this lack of concern, I am all of a sudden afraid.” This foreshadows the narrator’s unease and discomfort as she discovers her mother has to rely on other people to help her to fill in t...

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