Dee wants a luxurious lifestyle that is different from how she grew up. In Alice Walker’s story “Everyday Use,” the audience will notice Dee’s attitude towards the other characters due to her hatred towards everything, high expectations, and ungratefulness throughout the story. Firstly, based on what is told in the story, Dee hates a couple of things. Her attitude is reflected based on how she comments about it. She does not like the house she grew up in because it is very old.
Maggie is described to have been “eyeing her sister with a mixture of envy and awe” throughout her life as she “thinks her sister has held life always in the palm of her hand…” showing how from Maggie’s perspective, Dee is the favorited sister and desires to attract the same attention (921). From the three women, Maggie feels viewed as the lowest and therefore views the world from the lowest perspective, lacking the confidence and beauty to face the world with the same poise as her sister. Mama then expresses how she, herself, would not look at “a strange white man in the eye...” unlike Dee, who would “look anyone in the eye” (922). This attribute further reflects more of Dee’s self-assurance as this action would be rather unheard of at this time when racism and segregation was highly present and acted upon. Moreover, the differing views from mother and daughter present themselves here once again as Maggie faces the surrounding world with no fear while Mama faces it with her “head turned in whichever way is farthest” (922).
Everyday use was one of her books and it was published in 1973. This story talks about a family that consists of the mother (narrator) and her two daughters’ (Dee and Maggie). In the story they never say anything about the father because he was dead. The main things that the story is revolving around is the heritage and how it is important, the relationship between the two sisters, how education makes a differences, and finally about how generations changed by time. Alice walker gave the mother an important character in the story and she tried to show us how the father has a very important part of any family.
Maggie and her mother share a sisterhood that Dee will never understand. Through the characters of Mama, Maggie, and Dee, Walker displays the theme of oppression in the short story “Everyday Use.” Through the character of Mama, Walker communicates oppression due to a lack of femininity, education, and an inability to say “no” to Dee. Mama is a burley woman who, unlike Dee, enjoys the lesser things that life has to offer. She excels in the face of hard labor but lacks the skill to pull off a feminine version of herself. Dee longs for her mother to fit in with the women of the decade: “…one hundred pounds lighter, skin like an uncooked barley pancake, glistening hair, and witty (Walker 1).” Dee doesn’t understand why Mama doesn’t want to embrace a softer side of herself; however, Mama is content with her lifestyle.
The short story was first published in 1973 as part of the author’s short story compilation. The collection was aptly named ‘In love and trouble’. The Pulitzer Prize winner uses the book to interrogate how black women deal with race identity and racism in the United States. This writer shall offer an analysis of the short story. Character Creation The first thing one notices when going through the book is the effort the author put into developing the characters.
“No, Mama,” she says, “Not Dee; Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo!”(492). Displaying the name in boastful temperament and parading it in front of her mother and sister. A lack of sense of self and empathy, Dee’s characterization represents a search for
Mayella has worked to be a respectable woman, but many things hold her back: her dad, her looks, and her personality. Being a woman and living the way she does, Mayella’s life is ignoble, but the way she treats people makes her deserve the life she has been given. For example, Mayella forces a man to lie, which results in her flaws come around to hurt her, and her to not qualify for a chance to be respected. During Tom’s trial, Tom said, “...scared I’d hafta face up to what I didn’t do.” (page 265), and that’s because Mayella indirectly took an innocent man’s life, which makes her personality even more unattractive. Although women are treated very unequally, some women, like Mayella, don’t deserve to be treated
The short story Everyday Use by Alice Walker has various of themes to discover while reading. One main theme that appears in this story is racial identity. Racial identity as known as race is when a person is categorized into a group by what they look like. The main character Dee doesn't accept who she is and decided to change the way she was when she got sent to school in Augusta, GA. Her sister Maggie and her mother Mama are still the same way when Dee returned.
“Everyday Use” is a short story written by Alice Walker that is about a mother that has two daughters and she is waiting one of the daughter’s to come visit. The mother just goes by the name Mama but the daughters are named Maggie and Dee. The narrator is the Mama in which she gives a vivid explanation about their life in her point of view. Alice Walker uses imagery, allegories, and figure of speech throughout the story to paint a picture into the reader mind of what is taking place and visualize the characters in the story. Maggie seems to be African American.
The concept of “reading like a woman” not only applies to being a woman, but rather reading as the “minority” of any given intersection. To read Irie’s character requires reading like a mixed-race, unattractive (by society’s standards) girl, and then the reader can begin to understand why Irie acts the way she does. But one will never fully understand Irie through just her race, class, and gender- one needs to understand all of the problems she faces. As Culler states in the aforementioned theoretical article, “women readers identify with the concerns of women characters,” (Culler 511) even if women characters’ concerns are not only those about gender. Another example of “reading like a woman” in the context of this novel is to read Magid and Millat’s characters as similar versions of one another in race, class, and gender, yet entirely different in personality.