Alice Walker Characterization

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Throughout history, the use of characterization in literary pieces has gained a strong reputation as a method to transmit ideas to the reader and to reveal details about a character. Accordingly, this is the case of Everyday Use, a short story written by the American novelist Alice Walker. In this narrative, Ms. Walker utilizes direct/indirect characterization to show the attributes, qualities and moral disadvantages of the characters involved in the story. She also employs this literary device in order to establish differences between the analytical approaches towards African-American culture, and finally, she uses epiphanies in order to define the moments of the characters’ changes in the story. At the beginning of the story, Mama immediately …show more content…

Walker utilizes this literary device to convey meaning about a transition that a person undergoes in the story. A clear example of this trend is seen when Dee comes back from college in Augusta since it is explicitly noticeable that she has different thoughts about her culture than the ones that she used to have. A short excerpt that highlights this change in mentality is discerned when Dee tells her mom that she “doesn’t understand her heritage” (Walker 321), meaning that even though she used to be ashamed of her family and lifestyle, she seems to have a somewhat better understanding of her culture (epiphany). However, one could argue that Walker’s purpose when using this literary device is not necessarily meant to just highlight the change in the character, but rather to set up the beginning of the climax in the story by pointing out the importance of it by using characterization. In summary, Alice Walker uses direct/indirect characterization to reveal the thoughts and feelings of the characters involved in the story. In addition, she establishes differences between how people regard the African-American culture according to their experiences and uses symbols (quilts) that allow the reader to discern the contrasts between those approaches. Finally, she uses epiphanies to highlight changes in a character’s feelings and thoughts according to their respective

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