In the short story, “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, we are introduced to two distinctly different views of the African-American culture. The story depicts the 1960ish life of Mama and her two daughters, Maggie and Dee. As we are introduced to this family, it is apparent immediately that Mama and Dee see their heritage as African-American women in two starkly differing ways. It is also apparent that neither Mama nor Dee appreciates the views or the societal stations of the other. Contrasting one against the other, we come to a very real conclusion; at the heart of their disdain for one another, is pride. In Mama, we experience the pride of self-sufficiency, of survival, and of her ancestry. In Dee, we witness the pride of elevation and of education. Dee also takes great pride in displaying her heritage rather than embracing it.
The title of by Alice Walker carries several meanings apart from being a convenient beginning. In fact, many of the those most important themes of the story are highlighted by the issue of how things are used on an everyday basis. For example, the most obvious issues surrounding the everyday use of items and the disagreements around them is that of the quilts. For Dee / Wangero the quilts should not be actually used for warmth, but their everyday use is wrapped up in presenting a cultural or historical ideal—it is something to show off. The issue of everyday use also extends to other matters, such as the usefulness of reading, considering race and class, among others. For this essay, spend one paragraph on different examples of the duality of usefulness. Look at how Dee / Wangero thinks something should be used versus how her mother and sister might. For your conclusion, reflect on why there might be different ideas on usefulness.
"Everyday Use," short film was more story oriented as it showed what Mama only described in the text: "Maggie will be nervous until after her sister goes: she will stand hopelessly in corners, homely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs, eying her sister with a mixture of envy and awe." (WALKER 120) Mama was explaining how Maggie would feel when Dee comes to visit. In the movie, viewers had to wait and see until Dee's arrival to see Maggie's reactions, it wasn't told by Mama, but rather interpreted on screen by a moving image.
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Essays on the short story everyday use
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Alice Walker's Everyday Use Short Story Analysis
..."Everyday Use" is a short story by Alice Walker. It was first published in 1973 as part of Walker's short story collection, In Love and Trouble. The story is told in first person by the "Mama", an African American woman living in the Deep South with one of her two daughters. The story humorously illustrates the differences between Mrs. Johnson and her shy younger daughter Maggie, who still live traditionally in the rural South, and her educated, successful daughter Dee,or "Wangero" as she prefers to be called, who scorns her immediate roots in favor of a pretentious "native African" identity. The story centers around one day when the older daughter, Dee, visits from college after time away and a conflict between them over some heirloom family possessions. The struggle reflects the characters' contrasting ideas about their heritage and identity. Throughout the story. Dee goes back and forth on being proud and rejecting her heritage. For example, when she decides at dinner that she wants the butter dish, she shows that she respects her heritage because she knows that her uncle carved that with from a tree they used to have. However, she wants it for the wrong reason, saying that she will use it only for decoration. Another example is when she wants the quilts that Mama has. She states that she wants them because of the generations of clothing and effort put into...