Alice Walker Everyday Use Summary

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A story told from the first-person point of view directly connects the reader with the narrator. It places us in the narrator’s head, giving us a close view of the story teller’s thoughts, feelings, struggles, and motivations. Telling a story this way works nicely when the author wants us to get to know the narrator on a deeper level. It works nicely in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” because it gives us an intimate view of Mama’s struggles with her daughters, helps us see what matters most to her, and draws us to her. Mama’s honesty about herself gains the reader’s trust. For example, she has no illusions about being pretty or feminine: “In real life I am a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands. In the winter I wear flannel nightgowns to bed and overalls during the hot day” (494). Later she references her second-grade education and mentions that she “never could carry a tune” (495). Mama speaks openly about her own faults and limitations, and because of this…show more content…
Mama dreams of reconciling with Dee on a television program where she embraces her “with tears in her eyes” (494). Although Mama’s dislike of Dee grows throughout the story, she never tells lies about her. In fact, she tries to make both daughters happy in the end, giving the home-made blankets to Maggie and telling Dee to “take one or two of the others” (499). In addition, the reader gains much insight into Mama’s character when she shares her feelings before snatching the blankets from Wangero: “When I looked at her like that something hit me in the top of my head and ran down to the soles of my feet. Just like when I’m in church and the spirit of God touches me and I get happy and shout” (499). Mama is like the cow who is slow and won’t bother you unless you milk her the wrong way. Clearly, Wangero has “milked mama the wrong way”! The reader really enjoys getting such a close snapshot of Mama’s
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