Prof. Jessica Penner | OL05 | Fall 2020

Mamadou Diallo, “The First Day” Critique


Creative Writing

Formal Critique

Reviewer’s Name:  Mamadou Diallo

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


What about Seaton made the narrator’s mother want her to go there so badly?


I like how even though there is not a lot put into describing each character, we get an idea of each character through their actions.

Point of View

The story is told from the point of view of a child and it is made clear in the story that a child is telling the story from the way she sees the events transpiring.

Why did the author choose to write the story from a first person point of view instead of third person?

Setting & Context

I like the descriptions of the locations that the author uses. The description of Walker-Jones in particular gives me a clear idea of the building and just how busy it is.

Where exactly is the story taking place?

Voice & Style

I liked how the author did not bother to change any of the speech that the people around her used. It gave the characters a very personal feel to them.


Why did the narrator not try and speak with any of the children around her?


  1. Kiara Wright

    For the plot I’m wondering the same thing because when the lady wo worked at the school was trying to explain to the child’s mom of why they can’t take her in because they don’t have services for where they live, meaning that they live too far from the school and that, that school is not the zone school. But even knowing that, the mother still wants her daughter to go to that school really bad.

  2. Robert Rampersaud

    Good evening Mamadou,
    I agree the story was told from a child point of view, and it was a clear and easy reading to understand. The only problem is way the author described the setting and other characters do make it seems like a older person is telling the story because I don’t believe a child would be able to be so descriptive.

  3. nickay82

    Hello Mamadou, I agree with you. The author was very descriptive when describing each location which give readers a clear image of what the place looks like.

  4. Angelica Hernandez

    Hi Mamadou I agree with you on many things such as the description with helps the reader create a good image of what the characters are like and same with location.

  5. Dylan

    Hey Mamadou, I also really like how the characters aren’t given physical descriptions and instead are described through their actions. It makes them feel much more real by understanding how they behave as people rather than how they look.

  6. Saja Musa

    Mamadou, I agree with you regarding the descriptions of the settings. The authors style of writing, which was very descriptive, made it simple for the readers to visualize the setting and descriptions of the characters. This is why I enjoyed the story, I was able to create visualizations of the narrators experiences based on the descriptions given.

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