Deconstruction In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

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The theoretical concept of Deconstruction was introduced in the late 1960’s by Jacque Derrida, who was inspired greatly by the works of Ferdinand de Saussure. Deconstruction emphasises a de-centred world, a world where the grasping of meaning is unattainable. Derrida, whose name is synonymous with Deconstruction, rejected the idea that we live in a world dominated by language (Leitch 1815). A de-centred world consists just of a series of intermingling and substitutable signs that exist in a vicious relationship with one another. Deconstruction supports that a concept must be apprehended in the context of its opposite, such as community/isolation. Essentially, it is understood that everything we consider to be ‘natural’ is purely ‘discourse’.…show more content…
Dee’s hatred of the old fashioned, tattered house is further confirmed by the narrator; “Why don’t you do a dance in the ashes? I’d wanted to ask her” (Walker, 316). To commodify something is to attach a price tag to it. Dee, although has little interest in the labour involved in creating the quilts, or concerned with the butterchurn as an ancient family heirloom, only becomes infatuated with the items because they are “priceless” entities (Walker, 320). Dee’s way of valuing the objects is contrasted to that of her mother and Maggie’s. She is horrified at the idea of her sister employing the quilts for “everyday use”; “Maggie would put them on the bed and in five years they’d be in rags” (Walker, 320). This shows Maggie and her mother’s immodesty in their humble house in stark contrast to Dee’s ferocious Materialism. Maggie further intensifies this contrast by stating she did not require the quilts in order for her memories of Grandma Dee to remain intact; “I can ‘member Grandma Dee without the quilts”(Walker,…show more content…
Clearly obsessed with this materialistic vision of her life, Mama recalls how "Dee wanted nice things"(Walker, 316), including ‘a yellow organdy dress” and “black pumps to match a green suit” (316). Her individual, flamboyant style is primarily motivated by Dee’s attempt to deny her underprivileged roots. Perhaps Dee’s materialism is her opportunity to defy the oppression she felt growing up in a disadvantaged society; “I couldn’t bare it any longer being named after the people who oppress me” (Walker, 318). The character of Dee in Everyday Use possesses one major priority; social status. She has been introduced to a new world while away at college, a world where everything is commodified and man can create nothing without nature or without the sensuous external world. It is the material on which his labour is expressed, in which it is active, from which and by means of which.it produces (Leitch, 766). It is apparent that Dee’s materialistic ways have been amplified by her deep rooted, oppressive childhood encounters. According to her mother, once Dee is faced with the new house, “she’ll want to tear it down”, which presents itself as a “three bed” cottage with a “tin roof” and no windows; “there are no real
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