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Everyday Use Essays

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Many things can bring trouble to the family household. But a disregard in where you came from is the perfect brew for family trouble. In Everyday Use, Alice Walker uses Dee and other imagery throughout the story to show the difference of ideology, cultural roots, and rejection of her culture. ...

After leaving a letter on her return after years of leaving, Dee returns to her family after taking in a new identity. Her new identity brings conflicts with her mother and her younger sister Maggie. Dee wants to take and parade family heirlooms in her own home. This leads to her Mother telling Dee that she wants these items for the wrong reasons, causing Dee to go storming out.

Alice Walker shows the importance of heritage through the conflict of irony with Dee and the importance of knowing and respecting your heritage. When Dee first arrives to greet her mother and sister, she shows her first conflict over her name being changed. This interaction symbols her self-conflict. Her character is confused by her wanting to run from her roots and embrace a new her. After coming home and introducing herself, Dee and her Mother have this exchange. ‘Well,’ I say. ‘Dee.’ ‘No, Mama,’ she says. ‘Not ‘Dee,’ Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo!’ ‘What happened to ‘Dee’?’ I wanted to know. ‘She’s dead,’ Wangero said. ‘I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me.'(105) She claims that she couldn’t bear having the name of the oppressors. This is where the first conflict is introduced, outside of the character descriptions given early on within the story. Her name Dee comes from her Aunt Dicie, her Grandmother, and her mother. But Dee doesn’t recognize it as the family’s name, only a thing that represents a stain on her heritage. Dee’s quick obsession with quilts symbolizes Duality.

She wants the quilts to display as part of her heritage in her home. She doesn’t feel like they deserve to stay at the home, let alone with maggie because she worries that they will be put into everyday use. Maggie remembers how to make the quilts and wants to use them for there purpose, just like how her grandmother taught her. While Dee wants to display the quilts so that may last and act as a reminder to her family. This can come across in many ways as self-centered, but this is the way she wants to honor her heritage by having something that will last to have a tie to her grandmother. This, of course, contrasts Maggie and their mother’s thoughts of using the quilts to do their job and using the way their grandmother taught them to make more.Alice walker pulls uses different items, such as sunglasses, that Dee interacts with to show where and how she stands with her family relations. The sunglasses symbolize her contentment with her decisions. Towards the end of the story, she puts on dark black shades after having an altercation with Maggie and her mother. “She put on some sunglasses that hid everything above the tip of her nose and chin. Maggie smiled; maybe at the sunglasses. But a real smile, not scared.

After we watched the car dust settle, I asked Maggie to bring me a dip of snuff. And then the two of us sat there just enjoying until it was time to go into the house and go to bed” (Alice Walker, 154). The sunglasses represent her hiding away and blocking out her identity. As described in the book, the sunglasses hid most of her face, which can also be the identity that she is trying to hide. This point is reinforced by the previous altercation between Dee and her Mother over quilts that were for Maggie. This can also show her blocking out her family after the altercation over the quilts, possibly wanting to block off the part of herself that she claims that died furthermore.Dee wants to parade her heritage; this is clear through her actions in the story. This leads to her duality in wanting a new identity. The theme of Everyday Use is one to take to heart; To always remember where you came from. Alice Walker crafted a story that shows how important it is to remember these themes and to illustrate what happens if you stray too far from yourself.

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Know Where You Come From: Analysis of Everyday Use and Sonny's Blues

The effects of the Jim Crow Laws lasted until the mid-1960s, since Everyday Use was set in the late 1960s early 1970s even, they got effect from the laws. During this time of age many African Americans were struggling to reshape and regain their social and political identity in American society. At the time scholars became interested in the African heritage that had survived throughout Slavery and Jim Crow Laws, they wanted to know how these traditions were still present...
3 Pages 1182 Words

The Similarities And Differences Of A Rose For Emily And Everyday Use

In order to truly understand and appreciate a story, it needs to be taken and profoundly analyzed, different aspects need to be considered like settings, the time it is supposed to be taking place in, the location, even the writer plays a big role. Here comparing and contrasting the stories ‘A Rose for Emily’ by William Faulkner and ‘Everyday Use’ by Alice Walker, ‘A rose for Emily’ is written by William Faulkner in the form of a short story where...
3 Pages 1474 Words

The Archetypes Of Mother And Crone In Everyday Use, A Worn Path And Mothers Tongue

In the texts ‘Everyday use’ by Alice Walker, ‘A Worn Path’ by Eudora Welty, and ‘Mothers Tongue’ by Amy Tan, You see the at least two different Archetypes occur. The two archetypes are the mother and crone. ‘Everyday use’ by Alice Walker is about a mother and daughter living at home when they receive a visit from the mothers other daughter. The story shows obvious examples of the mother archetype in ways of defending Maggie and doing what is needed...
1 Page 525 Words

Narrative Imbalance In Everyday Use By Alice Walker

Humans differ in personality. What a man love may be a dislike to another. We are also associated with one culture or the other, which often shape our choice to life, culture, and heritage. It is however not uncommon to see people reject their culture and heritage. They tend to go after a culture which seems to be more valuable or modern. They, however, view their culture as barbaric and archaic. In the short story, Everyday Use by Alive Walker,...
3 Pages 1222 Words

Everyday Use By Alice Walker: Analysis Of The Character Of Hakim

In the story “Everyday Use”, the author uses heritage to Even though he is marginal to the story in “Everyday Use,” I want to discuss the character of Hakim, as his presence is significant to the topic at hand and discussing him provides some entry into the concepts I want to explore. While never explicitly stated, one may surmise that Hakim is or considers himself to be a Black Muslim. The story infers this by his greeting of, his refusal...
6 Pages 2807 Words

Everyday Use By Alice Walker: Contrast Between The Sister’s Beliefs About The Guilt

At some point in life, we realize the simplest things mean a lot to you In the short story “Everyday Use,” by Alice Walker contrast the characters Maggie and Dee and their connection to their family towards the heritage of the quilts, details took place in the early 1950s and 1960s in the yard that they call “An extended living room” they want to continue the tradition of a simple hand working life. Maggie is characterized as quiet, scared, loyal,...
2 Pages 1089 Words

Author's Craft Essay In Everyday Use By Alice Walker

The Author’s craft among the article “everyday use” uses transition and flashbacks as a result of throughout the story someone is either puzzling over the past or puzzling over the long run. Introduction In ‘Everyday Use,’ Alice Walker stresses the importance of the main character’s heritage. She employs varied ways that during which to reveal many aspects of heritage that unit of measurement otherwise arduous to be noticed. In the story, she introduces a pair of sisters with nearly opposite...
1 Page 669 Words

The Significance Of Heritage In The Story Everyday Use

Heritage is one of the most important factors that represents who you are and where you came from. In “Everyday Use “by Alice walker the meaning behind this story is to show that your heritage may not be exactly how the textbooks will tell you they are and that everyone has a different idea or perspective of what their heritage is and there is not right or wrong way to perceive it so you can’t tell someone that the way...
3 Pages 1204 Words

Dee Character Analysis In Everyday Use By Alice Walker

Alice Walker uses a recurring theme in the short story, ‘Everyday Use,’ to portray harmony amidst difficulties and conflicts within the African-American culture. She relies on the experiences of people in Mrs. Johnson’s household. The encounter happens when the educated member of the family, Dee, visits her mother, Mama and her younger sister Maggie in the company of her Muslim boyfriend Hakim. Walker utilizes characterization to show the difference between the perceptions of African-American culture and ultimately upholds them to...
2 Pages 832 Words

The Main Ideas Of The Short Story Everyday Use By Alice Walker

The short story Everyday Use written by Alice Walker, is written in Mother’s point of view. As the story starts, she reluctantly anticipates the arrival of her oldest little girl Dee. Mother remains close to her pulled back and physically scarred more youthful girl Maggie. As they anticipate Dee’s arrival, the peruser is given insights regarding Mother’s life and her close to offense with Dee. We discover that Dee constantly needed more than her family ancestry or Mom could offer...
1 Page 476 Words

Capitalist And Classism Ideologies In Everyday Use By Alice Walker

Alice Walker’s Everyday Use, included in the In Love and Trouble short story collection, was published in 1973, a moment in history known as the ‘Black Power Movement’. This movement encouraged racial pride and equality. Everyday Use relates the struggles of African American women due to their racial identity, although the story is about the contrast between two sisters and the struggle of heritage. Alice Walker represents the situation of the black society in America through the relationship of three...
2 Pages 906 Words

Themes Of Heritage And National Identity In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

The portrayal of a heritage-leaning protagonist who preserves her African-American traditions and a contrasting character that shares the same folklore, but renounces her American custom, invites us to question in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” about how these experiences of oppression can ignite change on an identity. The former describes the mother, having a strong sense of understanding on her own culture, does not allow her eldest daughter Dee, the one described by the latter, to claim the heirloom quilts for...
3 Pages 1149 Words
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