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After You, My Dear Alphonse
Interactive Literature Selections

Literary Tools
Character. A character is a person who figures in the action of a literary work. A static character is one who does not change during the course of the action. A dynamic character is one who does change. As you read, decide whether Mrs. Wilson is a static character or a dynamic character.

Stereotype. A stereotype is an uncritically accepted, fixed, or conventional idea, particularly an idea held about whole groups of people. As you read, think about the stereotypes Mrs. Wilson has about African Americans.

Reader's Resource
In “After You, My Dear Alphonse” Shirley Jackson shows that assuming things about another person can be a subtle, yet powerful form of prejudice. The saying “After you, my dear Alphonse” originated with a comic strip that first appeared in 1905. The expression is generally used when two people go back and forth, suggesting the other go first, as a way of being polite. It is sometimes used humorously. “After You, My Dear Alphonse” was published in Jackson’s short story collection The Lottery in 1949.

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Make a chart to list the assumptions made by Mrs. Wilson about Boyd and the stereotypes about African Americans that she has. One example has been done for you.

readers journal
When have you made an assumption about another person only to discover later that you were wrong?

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