The Importance Of Family In Everyday Use By Alice Walker

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Family, a word that is generally used to describe people who are related to one another or is used to refer to close friends, is not what Maggie and Dee (Wangero) would call each other. To be family, you must care about each other, and in the story, Everyday Use, written by Alice Walker, there is no such connection between the two sisters.
Walker sets the mood of the story by placing us in a home lived in by Maggie and her mother as they wait on the porch for Maggie’s sister Dee to arrive. Maggie is tense, standing there with the scars all over her body that were caused by the house fire just about ten years ago. Uncomfortable in her own skin, Maggie and her body language tell a great deal about her personality, she likes familiar things.
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Hakim doesn’t immediately pick up on Maggie’s behavior and continues trying to make unwelcome advances. Maggie’s personality is one of apprehension and suspicion toward anyone but her mother.
The mood stays the same as Dee, Mama, Maggie and Hakim-a-barber sit down together to talk and Dee announces to the family that she has changed her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo with the reasoning that she refuses to have the name of the people who oppressed her. Mama doesn’t know how to react and is slightly puzzled because her daughter is throwing away her family name.
When Dee (Wangero) began taking things that belonged to her mother in order to decorate her new house, the mood changed quickly from bewilderment to acrimony when Dee finally went too far. The sole purpose for Dee’s visit was to procure specific items belonging to her mother. Mom was initially perplexed as to why Dee would want the churn top and dasher and quickly incensed over Dee’s insistence that she was the only one capable of properly caring for the quilts. Wangero is astounded that her mother is going to give Maggie the blankets to be used for everyday use, believes that the quilts need to be preserved, and tells her mother that she doesn’t understand her own culture. Mama becomes enraged that her daughter is so condescending and self-centered. With authority, Mama takes the quilts out of Wangero’s hands and sets them in Maggie’s lap, giving them to their rightful

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