The short story “We Can’t Be Good at Everything” by Emma Sloley follows a traditional, linear plot structure, with the events following a chronological order.

The story begins in medias res, meaning in the middle of the events, with the description of William’s birthday party: “The balloons have been blown up, the cakes frosted to within an inch of their lives.” (l. 1) 

The distant relationship between Miles and Fenella, as well as Fenella’s fame, are foreshadowed when we learn he “has only agreed to host the party because it offers the rare occasion to be in the presence of a celebrity: his own mother, Fenella Warden.” (ll. 5-6). This suggests that her career choice affected their relationship. 

Fenella’s later rejection of Miles’s offer is foreshadowed by Miles’s ongoing anxiety (ll. 17-19), despite Jill reassur...

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