Preview
Preview

Essay about Everyday use by Alice Walker

No Works Cited
Length: 1141 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday use” tells the story of a mother and her daughter’s conflicting ideas about their identities and heritage. Mrs. Johnson an uneducated woman narrates the story of the day one daughter, Dee, visits from college. Mrs. Johnson auto-describes herself as a “big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands.”(180,Walker). Contrasting her auto-description, she describes Dee as a young lady with light complexion, nice hair and full figure that “wanted nice things.”(181,Walker). The arrival of Dee to Mrs. Johnson’s house causes mixed emotions on Mrs. Johnson. Dee Johnson and Mrs. Johnson have differing viewpoints on heritage and each value possessions for different reasons. Dee’s superficiality and materialist ways clash with Mrs. Johnson’s appreciation and understanding of her heritage. The conflict between the two characters depict the meaning of the work which is that heritage is to be valued for both its usefulness as well as its personal significance.

     Dees’ misconstruction of her heritage was a source of conflict. Dee Johnson changes her name believing that it would affirm her heritage. Dee informs her mother she has changed her name, she states, “I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people that oppress me.”(184,Walker). Dee discards the name in favor of an African name, Wangero, that, although, is African, is not directly related to her heritage. Mrs. Johnson does not understand why would Dee want to change a name that has been passed down through generations. Mrs. Johnson points out to her daughter that she was not named after the oppressor, but named after her aunt, who was named after her grandmother. Dee does not pay much attention to her mother’s clarification of why the name Dee is significant to the generations of the Johnson’s women. Unlike Dee, Mrs. Johnson grasps and understands the significance of the name. Dee has taken on an African name; however, it does not symbolize anything related to her family’s heritage. The name Wangero has the purpose to display her African roots. Yet it is meaningless to her ancestors. Dee may not be an African name but it has a personal significance. Walker is trying to convey that the name is not important but what matters is the significance of the name.

     Moreover Dee’s new appearance was another source to the...


... middle of paper ...


...’s materialistic connection to her heritage. Mrs. Johnson believes that culture and heritage are valuable for both its usefulness as well as its personal significance. Walker conveys the message that a person who posses real heritage and culture makes use of it everyday on their life.

     In “Everyday use”, the contrasting views on heritage between a mother and daughter teaches the lesson that heritage should be value for both it’s usefulness as well as its personal significance. Dee erroneously believes to be affirming her African heritage by adopting an African name and an African appearance. She did not realize that she was discarding her true African American heritage. Due part to her leaving her hometown and becoming an educated young woman, the value placed on family objects differ from the value her mother places on the same family objects. Dee misconducts her heritage as material goods as opposed to her ancestors. Mrs. Johnson makes right use of her heritage by giving use of the objects that her ancestors once made. This suggests that ones heritage is learned and passed down from our ancestors and it is not something that one puts on carelessly.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper








This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay Everyday Use by Alice Walker - Everyday Use by Alice Walker Through contrasting family members and views in "Everyday Use", Alice Walker illustrates the importance of understanding our present life in relation to the traditions of our own people and culture. Using careful descriptions and attitudes, Walker demonstrates which factors contribute to the values of one's heritage and culture; she illustrates that these are represented not by the possession of objects or mere appearances, but by one's lifestyle and attitude. Throughout the story, Walker personifies the different sides of culture and heritage in the characters of Dee and the mother (the narrator)....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use]
:: 1 Works Cited
964 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Everyday Use by Alice Walker Essay - In "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, Walker shows differences in human character, just by the way they act towards family members. The main character in the story, Mother, has two daughters that she treats very differently, and they treat her differently. One daughter looks down on Mother in a condescending manner, and the other is obedient and kind. In "Everyday Use", Walker shows that in relationships between a mother and daughters, adaptation to change can sometimes be very hard, which leads to pride and protecting what one has accomplished, and finally shows how un-appreciation can hinder these relationships....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use] 952 words
(2.7 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Alice Walker's Everyday Use Essay - In every family there seems to be a child that is bestowed with all of the positive aspects of her parents. Unfortunately, for every perfect child there is, it seems that there is one child that is less talented and less beautiful. In the short story, "Everyday Use", these two character descriptions fit perfectly in relation to the characters of Dee and Maggie. Dee is the gifted and beautiful child, whereas Maggie seems to have been left behind by the gene pool and luck. In her short story, "Everyday Use", Alice Walker utilizes language, the tragedy of the fire burning down Maggie's family's house, and her portrayal of Dee to pain an extremely sympathetic portrait of Maggie....   [tags: Everyday Use Alice Walker] 1207 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Everyday Use by Alice Walker - Everyday Use by Alice Walker “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, is a story of a black family composed of a mother and her two daughters: Maggie and Dee. Walker does an excellent job illustrating her characters. There are all types of characters in this short story from round to static. Dee is a flat character, yet Walker uses Dee’s character to warn people of what might happen if they do not live properly. Walker describes Dee’s character as arrogant and selfish, and through Dee’s character one is allowed to perceive the wicked effect of an egotistical world....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use Essays] 712 words
(2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Everyday Use by Alice Walker Essay - Everyday Use by Alice Walker In the short story Everyday Use, by Alice Walker, is narration by an African American woman in the South who is faced with the ultimate decision to whom she should give away the two quilts. Dee, her oldest daughter who is visiting from college, perceives the quilts as popular fashion and believes they should undoubtedly be given to her. Maggie, her youngest daughter, who still lives at home and understands the family heritage, has been promised the quilts. The two daughters each have opposing views on the value and worth of the different items in their lives....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use Essays] 724 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay about Everyday Use By Alice Walker - Everyday Use By Alice Walker In Alice Walker's short story "Everyday Use" Mama is the narrator. She speaks of her family of two daughters Maggie and Dee. Through the eyes of two daughters, Dee and Maggie, who have chosen to live their lives in very different manners, the reader can choose which character to identify most with by judging what is really important in one’s life. Throughout the story three themes consistently show. These themes show that the family is separated by shame, knowledge, and pride....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
1119 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Symbolism in Alice Walker's Everyday Use Essay - Symbolism in Alice Walker's Everyday Use History in the Making Heritage is something that comes to or belongs to one by reason of birth. This may be the way it is defined in the dictionary, but everyone has their own beliefs and ideas of what shapes their heritage. In the story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, these different views are very evident by the way Dee (Wangero) and Mrs. Johnson (Mama) see the world and the discrepancy of who will inherit the family’s quilts. Symbolism such as certain objects, their front yard, and the different characters, are all used to represent the main theme that heritage is something to always be proud of....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use] 1557 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Alice Walker's Everyday Use Essay examples - Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" In the short story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, the author portrays opposing ideas about one’s heritage. Through the eyes of two daughters, Dee and Maggie, who have chosen to live their lives in very different manners, the reader can choose which character to identify most with by judging what is really important in one’s life. In Dee’s case, she goes out to make all that can of herself while leaving her past behind, in comparison to Maggie, who stays back with her roots and makes the most out of the surroundings that she has been placed in....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1644 words
(4.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on The Themes and Narration Techniques of Everyday Use by Alice Walker - The Themes and Narration Techniques of "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker "Everyday Use," by Alice Walker, was first published in 1973. The story opens as Maggie and her mother, a black farm woman, await a visit from Maggie's older sister, Dee, and a man who may be her husband--her mother is not sure whether they are actually married. Dee, who was always scornful of her family's way of life, has gone to college and now seems almost as distant as a film star. Maggie, who is not bright and who bears severe burn scars from a house fire many years before, is even more intimidated by her glamorous sibling....   [tags: Alice Walker's Everyday Use] 962 words
(2.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Point of View in Alice Walker's Everyday Use - Point of View in Alice Walker's Everyday Use Alice Walker is making a statement about the popularization of black culture in "Everyday Use". The story involves characters from both sides of the African American cultural spectrum, conveniently cast as sisters in the story. Dee/Wangero represents the "new black," with her natural hairdo and brightly colored clothing. Maggie remains traditional: the unchanged, unaffected bystander. Nowhere in the dialogue do Walker's characters directly mention their feelings about the Americanization of African tradition....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use] 1143 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]