Preview
Preview

Essay about Everyday Use By Alice Walker

:: 2 Works Cited
Length: 1119 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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.

     Maggie is shamed from her scares of being burnt by their previous house. As her mother describes, "She has been like this, chin on chest, eyes on ground, feet in shuffle, ever since the fire that burned the other house to the ground" (87). Besides her scars, she just doesn't possess the same outgoing personality and full figure that Dee has. All these aspects make her feel inferior to Dee. She doesn't feel comfortable when Hakim-a-barber tries to shake her hand. On the other hand Dee is ashamed of her family and heritage. One of the main things that Dee does to distance herself from her family, and tarnish part of her family’s tradition is the changing of her name Dee Johnson, to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo, because she feels that it comes from “the people that oppressed me” (Walker 88). This shows that Dee is ashamed of her family heritage and she is trying to block out the past and the family in which she was raised. This act comes to Mama as a shock because of the thought that was placed into the choosing of that name. Mama explains to Dee that she can probably trace the passing of that name to before the Civil War. Dee also sent a letter to Mama once and made the comment that she would never bring her friends when she came to visit. In this, Dee is worried about what her friends would think because she is ashamed of the shack in which Mama and Maggie lives. Mama is also ashamed of their home saying "I have deliberately turned my back on the house." (Walker 87) She describes herself in a condescending way of being fat and manly. She also mentions how uneducated she is because of school closure in the second grade. Mamma seems to be ashamed of her self as a whole (Walker 86-87).

     Another theme that shows up is knowledge. "Like good looks and money, quickness passed her by." (Walker 87) This is mama commenting on how dumb Maggie is. M...


... middle of paper ...


...y about herself, Maggie, Dee, the house, and…everything.

     For this family to be closer, happier, or a better function they need to compensate on some issues. Throughout the story, the family conflict that arises focuses directly on the quilts, and who they will be passed along to. However, the quilts are more than old family material items beacuse they symbolize who they are. A quilt is joined together by patches with different patterns. This quilt represents how members of a family are different ,but nonetheless, joined together. Not everyone has the same skills, personality, or looks. They need to have the knowledge and realize this. They need to have more pride in themselves, each other, and their heritage. There is no need for them to be ashamed of their lives or their past. This family will never come together in whole if they don't quit letting their pride, knowledge, and shame get in the way.

Works Cited

Farrell, Susan. “Studies in a Short Fiction.” Vol. 35 Issue2,p179,March.2004.

Walker, Alice. "Everyday Use." Literature An Introduction to Reading and Writing 5th ed. Eds. Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1998. 86 92.


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]