Saturday, March 25, 2023

Women in Edward P. Jones’s Short Fiction

By Kenton Rambsy

Women characters play consequential roles in Edward P. Jones’s stories and are twenty-one of the protagonists of his twenty-eight stories. Jones depicts women characters across a broad age spectrum from young, middle-aged, to elderly.

“The Girl Who Raised Pigeons,” “The First Day,” and “Spanish in the Morning” make young girls the central focus. In “Common Law,” “His Mother’s House,” and “A Butterfly on F Street,” the women characters are middle-aged. And, in “Marie,” “A Dark Night,” and “Gospel,” the women are senior citizens.

Jones’s inclination to represent women characters at different stages in life allows him to further accentuate the diversity of representations in his stories. By and large, Black women short story writers showcase female characters, while Black men short story writers cast male protagonists.

Jones does more than experiment by occasionally presenting a lead woman character. Indeed, women protagonists are the norm in his works. 

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

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