Everyone has their opinions on a subject. In the short fictional story,”Everyday Use,” by Alice Walker, we see how different personalities equal these different thoughts. We see this in Maggie and Dee who have different opinions on their African American heritage. Dee and Maggie both grew up in a poor household. They have different views as they grew.
Occasion: Alice Walker writes the story to draw attention to the mindset of the minorities. Walker was an activist. “Everyday Use” is a short story within a collection documenting the stories of black women, such as Alice Walker herself. Audience: Walker writes the story for everyone to read.
In the short stories we have read there have been numerous themes. The impact of tradition, the value of heritage, the importance of family, the divide between social classes, and the presence of love are all ideas that can be found in the stories we have read. Short stories have managed to encapture the importance and true meaning of life in just a few sentences by imposing on the readers themes we can all relate to. A common theme presented in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” and Toni Cade Bambara’s “The Lesson” is the power of knowledge and education.
Most people have had some fight or disagreement with a member of their family. Some might say it is natural for families to argue, but sometimes the reasons behind them are much more substantial than they might appear at first glance. The short story “Everyday Use” by Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker deals a situation like this (Kirszner and Mandell 344). Walker feels strongly about people reconnecting with their heritage; in fact, she retook her maiden name three years into her marriage to honor her great great great grandmother (Kirszner and Mandell 344). When reading “Everyday Use” her opinions on ancestry and family are evident.
We all grow up and change, sometimes we try to forget everything we were taught. Dee is trying to be something she is not for the sake of being higher up. She changed so much that her sister and mother don’t recognized her anymore. She doesn’t understand African or American culture and she just want to take all the family possessions to store them and show them off. Her name was special and she changed it for a name that really has no meaning she even got that wrong because it means nothing. Social class changes a person into something that isn’t always good. Dee went to the extreme end of the line, instead of trying to help people like her mother and sister slowly go into society she throws it all
The family leads a hard working, simple and minimalistic life that allows them just enough to get by. Mama is described as a “large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands” (Walker 418). Her day to day life doesn’t allow for the high standards of her eldest daughter Dee. Dee is described by Mama as being unappreciative and bratty. Mama makes is clear that the family’s socioeconomic status would never be good enough for the eldest daughter.
“Everyday use stresses the mother daughter bond and defines the afircan American womens identity in terms of this bond and other family relationships”(Andrews and McCann). Seeing the different views of the sisters really helps the readers understand the meaning of heritage. We don’t only see it between the sisters but the readers see it through minor characters like hakim a barber. “when hakim-a-barber says that he does not eat collard greens and pork- traditional African American foods- he symbolically denies his heritage despite his complicated African name” (“everyday use”). Hakim a barber is dee boyfriend who seems to be not so passionate about his heritage.
When you look at it from Dee’s point of few she just seems to be pushing her family to expand their education and have a better life. Dee doesn’t want her family on a farm and raising cattle because that isn’t what she likes. She has an open mind about things and sees them as more than just what they are used for, hence the title, “Everyday Use.” Dee may seem like a rude, spoiled girl, but looking at it from her perspective, all she wants is for her family to live the way she does. Changing the point of view from Mama to Dee would make a major difference.
The authors, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, demonstrates how two women growing up together can lead to different point of views. In both stories, there is a woman – Sula in “Sula” and Dee in “Everyday Use” – returning home to find things the way they left them. Sula and Dee’s lives are considered very unconventional in comparison to their towns and families. In the case of Dee, she changed her name because, “I [She] couldn't bear it any longer, being named after people who oppress me." (Walker 1191)
Have you ever not seen eye to eye with your mother? In Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use”, we are shown how many of the choices we make and the things we value create our identity. This story focuses on two characters, mama and her daughter Dee (Wangero), who struggle to see the same way about their heritage. Dee wants the things made by her grandmother, to not admire it as an artifact, but rather to remake it. She wants to take them, and change them to match her lifestyle as it is today.
In the short story “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker shows the conflicts and struggles with people of the African-American culture in America. The author focuses on the members of the Johnson family, who are the main characters. In the family there are 2 daughters and a mother. The first daughter is named Maggie, who had been injured in a house fire has been living with her mom. Her older sister is Dee, who grew up with natural beauty wanted to have a better life than her mother and sister.
Defining Heritage In the short story, “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker defines and explores the concept of heritage in the African- American culture. The story was first published in nineteen seventy three as part of the short story collection, In Love and Trouble. “Everyday Use” tells the story of a mother and her two daughters who have conflicting ideas with their heritage and culture.
Everyday Use Literary Analysis “Maggie will be nervous until her sister goes. ”(Pg.50 line7) This is quote from the story Everyday Use by Alice Walker. The story revolves around a girl called Dee, her mom and sister Maggie. They have different opinions on different subjects especially relating to heritage.
Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” illustrates Dee’s struggle for identity by placing her quest for a new identity against her family’s desire for maintaining culture and heritage. In the beginning, the narrator, who is the mother of Dee, mentions some details about Dee; how she “...wanted nice things… She was determined to stare down any disaster in her efforts… At sixteen, she had a style of her own: and (she) knew what style was.” Providing evidence to the thesis, she was obviously trying exceptionally hard to find for herself a sense of identity. She wanted items her family couldn’t afford, so she worked hard to gain these, and she found a sense of identity from them, but it also pushed her farther away from her family.
Families are said to constitute realities in which most of one’s attributes are constructed, based on the family interactions, beliefs, values as well as the behaviours that are seen in the specific families one is brought up into (Archer & McCarthy, 2007). However, even though most of one’s personal characteristics may be heavily influenced by their families; people do have a sense of individuality that makes them unique from any other person in the family (Becvar & Becvar, 2013). Therefore, one may argue that it is these differences that may cause misunderstandings in families.