An analysis of the short story “After You, My Dear Alphonse” by Shirley Jackson reveals that the text has a linear structure. The story presents a single event that takes place over the course of a short period of time.

The main characters are Johnny, Boyd, and Johnny’s mother, Mrs. Wilson. Johnny and his mother are white, while Boyd is African American. Throughout the story, Mrs. Wilson shows her stereotypical and prejudiced views on African Americans, which the two children do not seem to understand.

The story’s physical setting is limited to Johnny’s house, where Boyd is confronted with Mrs. Wilson’s prejudiced attitude. The social setting mainly focuses on Mrs. Wilson’s prejudiced way of looking at African Americans and her sense of superiority. The story also adds information about Boyd’s family, which is meant to highlight Mrs. Wilson’s racist attitude and her incorrect assumptions.

The events are told by a third-person narrator, who follows Mrs. Wilson’s perspective. Although the narrator never talks about Mrs. Wilson’s racism openly, her prejudiced attitude is heavily implied. 

The language is fairly simple and the dialogue gives the feel of an authentic conversation between two children and a parent. Sometimes the characters do not respect grammatical rules, which adds to the text’s authenticity. 

A full analysis of the short story can be found in the following pages. 

Short story analysis

I denne vejledning får du Studienets hjælp til at analysere noveller (short stories) i engelsk.