Edward P. Jones’ short story “The First Day” tells the story of a young girl named Ella, who is starting her first day of school. The story follows Ella as she goes through her first day, meeting new people and learning new things. Throughout the story, Ella remains optimistic and happy, despite the challenges she faces. In the end, Ella learns that even though the first day of school can be tough, it’s always worth it to try new things.
It’s normal to keep vivid recollections of big events in life, such as the first day of school, for a long time. “The First Day” by Edward P. Jones is the story of a mother and daughter on their child’s first day at school. The mother goes to great lengths in the opening portion of the tale to prepare her daughter for this significant event.
The mother even makes a special breakfast for her daughter of eggs and bacon, which is not something she normally eats. The daughter is very excited for her first day of school, but the mother is nervous and has a lot of anxiety about sending her daughter off to school.
The story takes a turn when the daughter comes home from her first day of school and tells her mother that she didn’t like it. The mother is surprised and disappointed to hear this news. The daughter then proceeds to tell her mother all the reasons why she didn’t like her first day of school. The mother tries to comfort her daughter and tell her that she will get used to it, but the damage has been done. The story ends with the mother putting her daughter to bed and wondering what the future will hold for her.
This story is a great example of how anxiety and excitement can be mixed together when it comes to important life events. It also shows how our expectations for these events might not always match up with reality. The story is relatable and helps us to see that even though first days can be tough, they’re also a part of life that we all go through.
After that, she takes her kid to a certain school before being informed that she has the wrong district. They are led to the proper institution and the daughter is registered there. The mother is unable to complete the registration form due to illiteracy or inability to read or write. Along with love, pride, and guilt, feelings of admiration and humility arise in this story.
The mother is ashamed because she is not able to do something that many other people take for granted. The love and pride are expressed when the mother goes out of her way to make sure that her daughter has everything she needs for school, even if it means that she herself cannot participate in the process. In the end, the mother’s love for her daughter triumphs over her own personal difficulties.
Throughout the tale, Mable uses imagery, irony, and descriptive language to communicate her strong emotions. Although love and guilt are on the opposite ends of the spectrum of human feeling, Jones claims that they run parallel to each other. From the start of the narrative, we see the daughter’s disgrace in her mother.
The mother is presented as a hardworking woman, but she is also shown to be someone who is not afraid to ask for help, which the daughter finds shameful. The author writes, “The daughter was ashamed of her mother then, for having to rely on the kindness of strangers” (Jones 2). The daughter is also ashamed of her mother’s lack of education and her rural background. The mother is illiterate and cannot even sign her own name, which the daughter views as a great source of embarrassment.
The author writes, “The daughter was ashamed of her mother’s inability to read or write…and ashamed of herself for being ashamed” (Jones 3). In spite of all these feelings of shame, the daughter still loves her mother deeply. The author writes, “The daughter loved her mother… in spite of herself” (Jones 3). The love that the daughter feels for her mother is much stronger than the shame. The irony here is that, even though the daughter is ashamed of her mother, she still loves her more than anything.
The author uses descriptive detail to paint a picture of the mother in the reader’s mind. The mother is described as being “small and dark” with “a face too thin and sharp to be pretty” (Jones 2). The author also writes that the mother has “calluses on her hands from years of scrubbing floors and washing clothes” (Jones 2). The mother is portrayed as a hardworking woman who has had to struggle her whole life. The author’s use of descriptive detail allows the reader to see the mother in a clear and vivid way.
The imagery in the story is also very effective in conveying the emotions of love and shame. The author writes that, when the daughter looks at her mother, she sees “a small dark woman bent under the weight of all she had ever carried” (Jones 3). The image of the mother being bent under the weight of her burdens is very powerful and moving.
It shows how much the daughter loves her mother, even though she is ashamed of her. The author also uses imagery to describe the daughter’s feelings of shame. The author writes that the daughter feels “shame wash over her like a wave” (Jones 3). The image of shame as a physical force is very effective in conveying the intensity of the emotion.
The author uses a variety of literary devices to convey the powerful emotions of love and shame. The use of imagery, irony, and descriptive detail are all effective in conveying these emotions to the reader. The story is moving and powerful, and it gives insight into the complex relationship between love and shame.
In the first line, Jones reveals the daughter’s sentiments early on by using an appositive: “On an otherwise uneventful September morning, long before I learned to be ashamed of my mother, she takes my hand and we set off down New Jersey Avenue to begin my very first day of school.” (Jones) To convey that the memory the girl is reminiscing on isn’t a joyful one, Jones combines the words “unremarkable,” “ashamed,” and “first day.”
The first day of school is supposed to be an exciting time for a child, but the young girl in this story clearly remembers it as a day when she was humiliated. The memory is so powerful that even years later, she still feels shame at what happened.
In the second sentence, Jones uses foreshadowing to hint at the events to come: “It does not matter that I am wearing my best clothes or that Mama has brushed and rebraided my hair into two long plaits that hang down my back almost to my waist.” (Jones) The girl’s mother has taken care to dress her daughter in her best clothes and do her hair nicely, yet despite all of these preparations, the events of the day will still be negative. The foreshadowing in this sentence helps to set up the conflict of the story.
The rest of the story follows the young girl as she tries to navigate her first day of school, feeling embarrassed and out of place the whole time. She is made fun of by her classmates for her clothes and for not knowing how to read, and she spends the day hiding in a bathroom stall, too afraid to come out. The story ends with the girl’s mother coming to pick her up from school, and the young girl is relieved to finally be going home.