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First Love by Judith Ortiz Cofer Story Review

History of desecrrated deep love is the main plot of the short story “First Love” by Judith Ortiz Cofer. The author shows the selflessnes of young amorous Puert-Rican girl and profanation of her pure feelings by smug heartthrob.

Short, 4-page long story narrates about the changes in girl’s behaviour, about her desire for observing her “love”.  The boy works near her block. In order to meet her she looks for any possibility to go to the supermarket just to glance at him. Cofer underlines the depth of her feelings by opposing to the attitude to health of her mother. The girl is concerned about her mother “cutting down on her smoking or even giving up the habit”. She refuses from her small childish pleasure  - cookies instead of milk, which her brother is to drink more than usual. Absense of milk is the reason to go to the supermarket and meet him.

The main character is in the seventh heaven just because the boy noticed her once and “even spoke to me [her]!”. This incident makes her even more willing to meet the boy and convinces her of some successes.

The girl can’t even expect something big from her beloved. His initiative in darkness after the performance and kiss makes her confused and urges on lie. She tells to her worried father that she was busy doing something.  This is another argument for the great influence, which unconditional love made with her.


The author does not describe the reaction of the girl on the further behaviour of the boy pretending not to recognize her. By the words of the main character Judith Ortiz Cofer concludes that the main aim is not win, but “to keep your opponent guessing”.

While describing the preparations for the banquet the author stresses upon another problem – unjustice. The girl „had the highest average in the church history class” but she was not chosen. Thinking about the Polish girl who is chosen due to her beauty, the main character formulates one of the main theses: “The main privilege of beauty is that others will do almost everything for you, including thinking.” The visual image of dais in the performance of the Greek tragedy and girl’s place in it symbolizes the structure of the school community and her desperate position.

This topic relates also to another issue – social inequality. At the beginning of the story, the girl says that her beloved “was not Puerto Rican; he was Italian and rich”. This phrase at the beginning plays as an opposition and places another kind of limitations on their imagined relations. While analyzing the plot it seems that this fact does not play a certain role in the boy’s attitude towards her but for the girl it is very important – she feel herself worse. The same keynote is described in details in the scene of coming to school before the banquet. All the other female participants of the performance look „authentic in sheets of material that folded over their bodies like the garments on a statue by Michelangelo”.

Summarizing all the abovementioned it is necessary to underline two main problems stressed by the author. The first one deals with the unrequited love and outrage upon the frank love. Another problem is less prosaic. The social structure and attitude towards migrants forms corresponding inferiority complex. Judith Ortiz Cofer strengthen these problems by use of the powerful visual images of the dais, bahaviour of the beloved boy after the kiss in darkness and so on. The power of conviction of “First Love” by Judith Ortiz Cofer is propinquity of the story to everybody who experienced failure with the first love.

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