Friday, March 24, 2023

Children in Edward P. Jones’s Short Fiction

By Kenton Rambsy

Edward P. Jones further exemplifies his commitment to portraying a range of characters by incorporating children.

Three of his stories, “The Girl Who Raised Pigeons,” “The First Day,” and “Spanish in the Morning,” feature children as the protagonists. In “The First Day” and “Spanish in the Morning” in particular, the children are intently focused on the adults and rarely describe their personal feelings.

However, throughout other stories in his collections, children play consequential roles as background characters. For instance, in “Adam Robinson Acquires Grandparents and a Sister,” Noah and Maggie Robinson take their grandchildren in after their son falls victim to drug addiction. Although the story focuses on Noah’s perspective, Adam and his younger sister, Elsa, are also a central focus as their grandparents raise them.

In these stories, age plays a role in where a character can travel throughout DC by contrasting children and adult characters. Children are largely confined to the neighborhood, interacting with their peers who live on the same street or in close proximity. Adults tend to accompany children as they are traveling outside of their neighborhoods by walking on foot, taking public transportation, or riding in cars. 

This entry is part of a series--A Notebook on The Geographies of African American Short Stories.

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