Alice Walker Everyday Use Analysis

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In the story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, a change in her daughter, Dee, causes Mama to grow a new appreciation for her often overshadowed daughter, Maggie. While Dee has returned to her home more educated, she has become ignorant to who she really is, causing a change in the attitudes of the characters towards each other. The new background that Dee has created for herself presents a sense of irony as her rise in education has resulted in her loss of knowledge about the world that she grew up in. After Mama refuses to allow Dee to take her grandmother’s old quilts because she promised them to Maggie, Dee claims that “Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts... She’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use” (926). From the…show more content…
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). Yet again does Walker convey this when Mama notes that after their arrival, “every once in a while [Hakim-a-barber] and [Dee] sent eye signals over my head” (924). By looking “over” her, it is apparent that Dee now sees herself above her mother. By…show more content…
While Dee arrives with a higher education, she lacks the cultural experience that her mother and sister and acquired throughout their lives. This causes Mama’s admiration for her and disapproval of Maggie to essentially flip as Dee has now caused an obstruction in the relationship with her
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