The Theme Of Oppression In Everyday Use By Alice Walker

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In “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker portrays the life of three African American women living during the early 1970’s when the Black National Movement emerged. Walker tells us this story through the eyes of, Mama, a woman living in rural Georgia with her youngest daughter, Maggie. The women endure countless restraints that keep them from pursuing a different, and possibly more successful life. When Dee, Mama’s oldest daughter, drops in for a visit, we are given an insight to her flashy lifestyle and her desire to flaunt the heritage that she cast away at an early age. Maggie and her mother share a sisterhood that Dee will never understand. Through the characters of Mama, Maggie, and Dee, Walker displays the theme of oppression in the short story “Everyday Use.” Through the character of Mama, Walker communicates oppression due to a lack of femininity, education, and an inability to say “no” to Dee. Mama is a burley woman who, unlike Dee, enjoys the lesser things that life has to offer. She excels in the face of hard labor but lacks the skill to pull off a feminine version of herself. Dee longs for her mother to fit in with the women of the decade: “…one hundred pounds lighter, skin like an uncooked barley pancake, glistening hair, and witty (Walker 1).” Dee doesn’t understand why Mama doesn’t want to embrace a softer side of herself; however, Mama is content with her lifestyle. Mama’s lack of femininity prohibits her from fully forming that special mother, daughter bond with
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