Themes

Table of contents

Education

The theme of the short story “The First Day” by Edward P. Jones is education, and how it can change a person’s life.

The narrator’s mother did not benefit from a formal education, so she is unable to read and write. This means she cannot get a high-paying job and cannot improve her lower-class status. As a result, she and her family are unable to lead a better life. For the narrator’s first day of school, the mother probably makes a great financial sacrifice to dress her in new clothes, but she has no money left to buy herself new socks, which means she has to darn her old ones. Her lack of education also forces her to ask for help in situations which require reading or writing, such as when she enrolls her daughter for school. This ...

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