The New Girl

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “The New Girl” by Marc Mitchell. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Presentation of the text

Title: “The New Girl” (2001)
Author: Marc Mitchell 
Genre: Short story

The short story “The New Girl” was published in the anthology True Tales of American Life, edited by Paul Auster. The book contains biographical stories collected by Paul Auster from listeners of the National Public Radio in the US.  Consequently, Marc Mitchell is not a known writer, but an American citizen who shared his childhood story with Auster. 


Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 


The theme of racism is illustrated through the attitude Allison has towards the little girl. In her case, it is very likely that she does not know what she is doing, as she was probably taught by her parents that black people are not to be desired close to one’s house. This is where the motif of prejudice comes in, as Allison is given no clear evidence why the black people could “ruin” (p. 23, l. 15) her house.

Take into consideration the fact that nobody is born racist and that racist views are almost always perpetuated in the family. We advise you to focus on what might cause racism: fear, prejudice, ignorance or the need to assert one’s superiority. What do you think might have caused Allison’s family to become racist?

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The New Girl

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