School Days Literary Elements

School Days Literary Elements


A narrative of childhood

Setting and Context

The story takes place in one of the French colonies Fort-de-France, Martinique.

Narrator and Point of View

The third person narration

Tone and Mood

The tone of the story is comic, when the little boy tells about all his adventures at school, and sometimes it changes into sorrow, when the author depicts the Teacher and the Director and how they punish poor children.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Protagonist of the story a little boy, the author of the book, who wanted to go to school and finally his desire comes true and the antagonists are the Teacher and the Director who made the school reality unbearable for him.

Major Conflict

Major conflict stands in contradiction between the colonial policy and conservation of native Creole culture.


The climax happens when the little boy finds his calling - first he reads a lot, then he begins to rewrite stories according to the pictures and after that he finally starts to invent and create his own stories.


The fact that children had to learn the French language and are forbidden to communicate the Creole language foreshadows that their culture is regarded as barbarian and primitive that I why they should forget it.


The author shows that school days for him were connected with the loss of his native identity and obedience but not with learning something new and interesting.


The story alludes to problems in education and French colonial policy.


Used rather often in portraying the days at school, the environment and routine


Though the little boy longed to go to school, when he finally gets there he doesn’t want to go there anymore, because it was difficult for him to understand the Teacher who was supposed to clarify unknown things but not to puzzle children more.


All nations and cultures have right for their self-identification. But since the ancient times there were superior nations who conquered the primitive one and were regarded as rescuers, and those primitive have to be grateful for being conquered by such a “great and highly developed” nations, so they should forget their culture and learn new, whether they want it or not.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

The author uses metonymy and synecdoche to underline the social role of people in the story and to highlight ironically their features: “One day he explained that he wanted to go with the Big Kids”, “school was a lot tougher that the monkey business of Mam Saliniers”.


The author uses personification to depict the attitude of the main character to some events or things: “A lot of noise. The silence began to weight heavily”, “indifference – the only punishment”, “the classroom was familiar and threatening”.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.