Prof. Jessica Penner | OL05 | Fall 2020

Dylan Nanjad, The First Day Critique


Creative Writing

Formal Critique

Reviewer’s Name: Dylan Nanjad

Title of Piece: The First Day Author’s Name: Edward P. Jones

Plot: The author describes the author’s first day of kindergarten, which their mother took them to. They encountered a few problems during the enrollment process, during which the author saw a side of their mother which had been hidden before. I really like how Jones establishes that they learned to be ashamed of their mother later in life, and makes it clear over the course of the story as to why that happened. Why didn’t Jones leave out that they were ashamed of their mother?

Characters: The characters are Jones, their mother, and a few adults and children at Walker-Jones and Seaton. However, Jones only describes their mother’s interactions with two adults, which highlights how different she is from other grown-ups. When did Jones start understanding why their mother was ashamed?

Point of View: Although Jones wrote this from a first person perspective, the story is really about their mother. I really enjoy how Jones allows us to look at their mother through the lens of a five year old instead of making it a third person description. It somehow makes their mother feel more real and makes it easier to understand why Jones later became ashamed of her.

Dialogue: I like how the dialogue between Jones’ mother and the school employees shows that the mother is self conscious and doesn’t want her child to end up the same way. Why didn’t they show more dialogue between themself and their mother?


  1. Robert Rampersaud

    Good Evening Dylan,
    I agree with your dialogue on how the mother wanting the best for her daughter. The mother tried to get her child into the best school, but she was turn down because of the school being out of the region. Also, I agree the author did a great job of writing it in first person perspective of a little girl which made the short story more enjoyable to read.

  2. Jozelyn

    Hey Dylan, I agree that it was interesting how us as readers were able to understand the mother’s character through the young girl’s eyes. Sharing view that the young girl had of her mother makes it more personal and interesting. I also agree with the fact that the dialogue between the mother and the people at the school only proved more that she wanted the best for her daughter. Also, I am a bit confused as to who you are referring to when you state “they?” Other than that I agree with your critique.

  3. Mamadou

    I personally think that the reason why the author chose to not have that much dialogue was to put more emphasis on the actions of the characters rather than the things that they say. The few times that dialogue was used in the story, like when the mother admits that she cannot read or write, show something important about the characters involved,

  4. Marina Malak

    Hi Dylan,
    I agree with you on how the author wrote it as the girl’s narration but the story itself was truly about the mother. We barely got to know the girl’s personality but the mother’s actions and dialogues as told by the girl showed us her true personality and ambitions, I personally love her personality!

  5. Mohammed Hashim

    Hello Dylan, I enjoyed reading your critique. I liked your question on ‘Plot’ leading to “Why Jones didn’t leave out to why she was ashamed of her mother?” I also want to know why she was even ashamed of her mother later in the years because her mother seems to be a nice caring lady.

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