Prof. Jessica Penner | OL05 | Fall 2020

Maria Mateo, “The First Day” Formal Critique


Creative Writing

Formal Critique

Reviewer’s Name:  Maria Mateo

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

Plot: The story relates the experience of a mother and her 5 years old girl on her first day of school. It says how the little girl couldn’t attend the school that her mother always wanted her to go . The little girl described her emotions about how she felt that day, everything she saw and smelled on the way to school.

Characters: The author describes a mother and a 5-year-old girl. The mother despite the fact that she cannot read or write, is doing everything possible to give her daughter a better future. She is not even shy about seeking help and saying her limitations of not knowing how to write or read in exchange for her daughter being able to attend school. The 5-year-old girl seems to be very intuitive as she describes every moment of her first day of school.

Voice and Style: The author uses unique words to describe what the 5-year-old girl saw, smell and feel on her first day of school. The style he uses was very descriptive giving the reader a better understanding of the little girl experience during that day.

Setting and Context: The story took place at the mother ideal school for her 5-year-old girl Seaton Elementary School and the school that she actually had to attend Walker Jones.


  1. Robert Rampersaud

    Good evening Maria,
    I agree the mother was trying to give her daughter a better future. The mother put her pride aside of embarrassing herself about not knowing how to read and write to get help for her daughter. Even the daughter was left shocked of her mother telling a stranger that she could not read and write.

  2. nickay82

    Hello Maria, I agree with the way you summarize the characters. I agree that although the mother was unable to read and write, it was evident she was not on the day she put her pride aside to seek help so her daughter could get enroll in school.

  3. Angelica Salazar

    Hi Maria, I agree with you the author was very descriptive. I enjoyed reading the detail the Author provided I was able to picture the story better given the details provided.

  4. Mamadou

    I agree that the author’s style of writing gave us a much clearer understanding of what the young girl was going through in the story. The author did a really good job of placing us into the shoes of the young girl

  5. Marina Malak

    Hi Maria,
    I agree with you on how the mother went above and beyond to fill her daughter’s application, however, I got the feeling that she was shy about her not knowing how to read but she went on her way and asked for help anyway, all for her daughter.

  6. Dylan

    I agree that the mother put her pride aside and admitted her illiteracy for the sake of her daughter. It shows how much she cared for her daughter’s future.

  7. Mohammed Hashim

    Hello Maria, I really enjoyed reading your critique on “The First Day”. I think it was a great short story to read and discuss about. I also noticed what you said about the mother is using any means necessary to make her daughter enroll to the school and that shows how much she cares for her daughter’s future.

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