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Symbolism used in Everyday Use by Alice Walker Essays

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Symbolism is a literary technique used by a manifold of authors. Symbolism is using an object, person, place to represent something greater than what it actually is or means. For example, the crucifix symbolizes the honor and sacrifice and love off all men. Symbols also represent suggestions for ideas, like traffic lights, red symbolizes stop, yellow symbolizes slow down, and green symbolizes to go. Symbolism is even used to celebrate, in the Hispanic culture a quincenera is used to symbolize a female child becoming a young lady.
In the short story, Mama Johnson, mother of Dee and Maggie is a hard working women, she goes off trying to collect money to send her oldest daughter, Dee to get an education. Little to know that Dee would come back caught up in a social status. Dee (Wanjero Leewanika Kemanjo) comes back to look down on her family, and to take family heirlooms with her. Dee could careless that Mama and Maggie use most of the items on a daily basis that she wants to bring with her. The quilts which are the bond between the women of the family and living history means nothing to Dee as she just wants to hang them on the wall, Mama Johnson makes a wise decision and gives the quilt to Maggie the true representation. Dee isn’t very fond of the decision and leaves with a bang. Telling her mama “you just don’t understand,”…“what don’t I understand?’ I wanted to know” “Your heritage’ she said”(Walker722)
In Alice Walkers’ Everyday Use the literary technique of symbolism is used a sundry of times throughout the short story. The character Mama Johnson is caring, courageous and independent. She is the true representation of an

African American women. She is the symbol for a hard working women and for everyone who’s had a h...


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...eep going on and on not kept hanging on a wall. I’m sure that if Maggie had been named Dee, she would be bragging about being named after the great women in her family. She values everything her culture has to offer. As you can see symbolism is used ubiquitously throughout this short story, to represent many great things in the African American culture



Works Cited

Bmad, Nick. “Symbolism in Walkers ‘Everyday Use.” Enotes. N.p, 4 July 2007. Web. 17 Mar 2014
Eshbough, Ruth. “A literary Analysis of Alice Walker’s short story ‘Everyday Use’.” YAHOO! VOICES. Yahoo,inc.,21 Aug 2008.17 Mar 2014
Velazqez,Juan R. ”Characterization and symbolism in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use’.” Lonestar. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar 2014
Walker, Alice. “Everyday Use.” Heritage of American Literature. Ed. James E. Miler. Vol2. Austin :Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,1991. 714. Print.



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