The short story “The First Day” by Edward P. Jones begins with the narrator getting ready for her first day of school. Her mother dresses her in new clothes, does her hair, and puts perfume behind her ears. 

The narrator’s mother wants her to attend Seaton Elementary School, which is across the street from Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, where she goes every Sunday. However, as the narrator and her mother do not live in the area served by Seaton, they get turned away. The narrator’s mother tries to argue that she wants to send her daughter to Seaton, but she is unsuccessful.

The narrator’s mother then takes the narrator to Walker-Jones school, which is larger and more crowded. She needs to ask another parent’s help to fill in the required form bec...

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