Study Guide

Lucy: A Novel Plot Analysis

By Jamaica Kincaid

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Plot Analysis

Exposition (Initial Situation)

Coming to (North) America

Nineteen-year old Lucy comes to the U.S. from a Caribbean island and begins work as a live-in babysitter for Mariah and Lewis's four kids. As in any exposition worth its salt, we get to know our main characters a bit as we follow Lucy through her first few weeks on the job. 

Rising Action (Conflict, Complication)

Can you Say Culture Clash (five times fast)?

Despite being good at the whole babysitting gig, Lucy has some trouble adjusting to life with the family. The characters' different cultural backgrounds and life experiences lead to some bigtime misunderstandings and conflicts.

Climax (Crisis, Turning Point)

Movin' On

After learning that her father has died, Lucy quits her job as Supernanny and moves into her own place with her buddy Peggy. The weird thing about this climax is that it's not presented in some big dramatic scene as your typical climax usually is. Yes, we do get to watch Lucy as she receives the news of her father's death. But it's not until later when she's living in her new pad that she tells us that this event was, in fact, the turning point that inspired her to make the really big move of leaving her job and her old digs in order to strike out on her own.

Falling Action

New Girl

Lucy starts life in her new apartment and in her new secretarial job. We're not given anywhere near as much detail about the new job as we were with the nanny job. Likewise, her living situation with Peggy isn't as detailed as her time with the family was. So instead of creating new complications and pushing the story forward, this part of the novel signals to us that the story is definitely winding down.

Resolution (Denouement)

(Un)Happily Ever After

This isn't the most uplifting way to wrap things up, but it's the only resolution we've got: even though she's completely independent now that she doesn't have to answer to Mariah and Lewis, Lucy realizes she still isn't satisfied with life. Bummer. She does, however, start writing in a journal in her very final act of the novel, so maybe, just maybe, she's on the road to figuring out what might bring her happiness.

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