Lost in the City: An Exploration of Edward P. Jones's Short Fiction

Section 2: Character Demographics of All Aunt Hagar's Children

By Hira Chaudhary & Angela Zitting
Visualization by Peace Ossom-Williamson

Jones’s ability to represent the female voice is even more impressive than could be gleaned from close reading and analysis. Traditional reading may lead to the conclusion that Jones writes primarily about other men due to the number of male characters that appear in the stories; however, once we consider the prominent role of women as both primary characters and primary speakers, we realize that these male characters are often taking a backseat to the daughters, sisters, and mothers that take the wheel in many of the stories.
Gender also plays a role in determining movement across the city. Female characters moving alone make up 49% of the movement in NW, while male characters move 34% of the time. This mobile disparity indicates that Jones empowers female characters to move and speak through his writing. Interestingly, the difference is reversed outside NW, suggesting that this freedom is limited to the confines of the established community for women, while men move more freely throughout the city.

This chart reveals the proportions of character dialogues in Jones’s All Aunt Hagar’s Children. The first section visualizes the ratio of times male and female characters speak across 14 short stories.
The second part of the chart takes a close look at the protagonist, primary character(s), and secondary character(s) found in each of the stories. Hovering over each individual bar in the three categories reveals the character name and number of words spoken in that specific story.



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