The First Day Short Story

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Both Toni Morrison’s “Sweetness” and Edward P. Jones’ “The First Day” are short stories written by African American individuals. Other than this very basic similarity, these stories and their authors bear resemblance to each other. Both of the authors lived in a time before the internet, cell phones and probably more importantly the rise of an equal rights for all races movement. Given these facts and their shared African heritage, it is understandable both of the stories have at least an undertone of racial issues. On the more superficial level both “Sweetness” and “The First Day” feature a mother-daughter relationship. Even if this relationship is present in both stories, the qualities of this mother-daughter relationship and the tone of…show more content…
While there is a relationship based upon trust and love in “The First Day” ,the relationship in “Sweetness” appears to have roots of guilt and prejudicial denial. The narrator of “The First Day” is very trusting and also observant of her mother. After her mother lets her use perfume she says “Because I cannot smell it, I have only her word that the perfume is there.” (Jones,27). This sentence shows the audience that the narrator does not need solid evidence of the perfume’s smell to believe it is there because she has her mother’s word for it, which she trust immensely. The narrator is also very protective of her mother, which can be read as an sign of affection. When other people appear to have bad thoughts about her mother, she becomes protective. “My mother is now diseased, according to the girl’s eyes, and until the moment her mother takes her and the form to the front of the auditorium, the girl never stops looking at my mother. I stare back at her.” (Jones, 30) Even though she knows staring is rude and should not be done, she is willing to break these rules of politeness to protect her mother. The narrator also values her mother’s presence quite a lot. She trusts what she says, closely observes her actions and needs her approval. Her mother is above all for her, even the loudness of the
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