Study Guide

The First Part Last Sacrifice

By Angela Johnson


In The First Past Last, Bobby gives up pretty much everything he's known to become a father. And while he gets tired of the responsibility and the sleepless nights, his daughter is infinitely more precious and important to him than his own needs.

But Bobby's not the only one who makes sacrifices in the novel. Although we know his losses and gains most intimately, we catch glimpses here and there of what other characters give up and why they make these choices. And even though we might not always understand why Mary sends Bobby to his father or why Nia considers leaving the city, we get that these choices almost always come from a place of love. We can't really fault that.

Questions About Sacrifice

  1. Which characters in The First Part Last are most willing to sacrifice? Which ones aren't? Why are these characters like this?
  2. Does Mary sacrifice anything in the novel? If so, what, and why does she do this? If not, why not?
  3. What does Bobby sacrifice for Feather, and what does he gain in return? Why does he make these sacrifices?
  4. Does Feather sacrifice anything? If so, what? If not, why not? What does your answer imply about the nature of sacrifice?

Chew on This

Since Bobby decides to raise Feather, doing so isn't really a sacrifice—it's just something he wants.

Bobby's parents don't sacrifice anything throughout the novel; their lives continue as usual.

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