The first day of school is one of a child’s most significant moments of his or her life. Starting off kindergarten can be quite dreadful but a mother’s presence will reassure you that everything will be fine from the very start. In the story, “The First Day”, the author conveys the story of the mother going to great lengths to prepare her daughter for the start of school. Throughout the story, the author uses narrative techniques such as point of view, foreshadowing, and the main plot in order to convey the meaning of the short story that includes; love, pride and shame.
The author uses first person point of view to describe the experiences she went through with her mother while enrolling for school. The narrator includes a series of flashbacks such as mentioning her father, who left them while she was young. This technique gives the readers access to the narrator’s perspective of the events and characters. She includes her thoughts, observations, and feelings about her mother, whom she is ashamed of due to the fact that she is illiterate.
The purpose of foreshadowing is to warn or indicate readers of what is to come later in the story. In this case, the story begins with “In an otherwise unremarkable September morning, long before I learned to be ashamed of my mother, she takes my hand…” The narrator’s shame towards her mother is prevalent when she mentions “learned to be ashamed of my mother”. This indicates that the memory she is looking back on is not a joyful one. Furthermore in the story, the author makes numerous mentions about the mother’s lack of education by indicating her dialogue. This includes “If I’da wanted her someplace else, I’da took her there” or “Would ifou help me with this form? That is, if you don’t mind.” This technique made it obvious to the readers that there is something wrong with the mother.
Lastly, the main plot is the most significant technique the author uses to make this short story compelling. It begins with memories of her past, to imagery about her clothing and perfume to introducing the main event: enrolling for Kindergarten. In then furthers to when she could not enroll to Seaton Elementary School due to her current address. It led to her mother enrolling her to a different school where the climax is revealed that her mother could not fill out the paper work because she did not know how to read nor write. The conclusion came to an end when the daughter found out about her mother’s lack of education and how she realized her mother’s only dream is for her is to go to school and not become like her.
The impact of the mother’s only dream for daughter to be able to go to school became the most important point of the story. The narrative techniques the author used showcased the mother’s desperate yearning for a better life for her daughter than the life she endured. It provokes feelings of self-love, pride and shame that unravels throughout the whole story.