Professor Joe Sarnowski’s academic journal criticizes the characters of the story, “Every Day Use”. He examines the conflict between the mother and her oldest daughter, Dee. Sarnowski asserts that Dee is trying to justify her personal gain, since she cherishes the economic value of the quilts more than that of the heritage they represent. The author continues to compare Dee’s ego with that of her sister Maggie. Who in contrast, has true appreciation for her heritage. Furthermore, Sarnowski acknowledges mother’s disappointment as Maggie gives up the quilts, pointing out that they represent memories of family members. The author believes that displaying these quilts will disintegrate the sense of family history they carry. Consequently,
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.
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.The author used symbolism throughout the whole story to show the difference between these characters. The symbolism is there to give us a further explanation on the family and also to tell us how much heritage is important to some, but not others.
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. As the story progresses,
“The Custodian” is a short story written by Brian Hinshaw. Hinshaw writes about a janitor who works in a nursing home. The story starts off with an intriguing beginning and ends with an unpleasant surprise. To find the meaning behind this story, there needs to be an analysis conducted of the characters, plot, point of view, and theme.
The mom begins the story by talking about her daughters. She sees Dee as the prettier and the smarter daughter. The mom says that “No is a word the world never learned to her”. The mom says this because Dee is spoiled and always gets what she wants. . Mom knows that Dee has irregular ways and is not necessarily like her or Maggie, but she in some ways looks up to Dee and longs for Dee to accept her. (Nancy Tuten) agrees by saying, "Mama's distaste for Dee's egotism is tempered by her desire to be respected by her daughter.” The Mom’s character changes during the quilt scene, as she realizes that Maggie shares the appreciation of culture and heritage, and Dee's appreciation is entirely different from theirs. During the quilt scene, Dee is demanding Mom to give her the quilts, and Mom says, "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.” In other words the daughter who she has always thought so highly of knew little of their culture and had little appreciation for their heritage. Walker creates the “mom” character to help defend her point, which is the importance of upholding the values and traditions in the African American
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. Walker’s inclusion of Dee’s attempt to burn down the family home is a great demonstration of how the physical landscape of a character can affect their mental
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. Looking at the story with Dee telling it would allow access to her thoughts so that the reader can understand why she is the way she is. It would allow the reader to access the deeper meaning to certain actions she takes and why she says the things she says. The point of view in a story determines so much for the reader including their feelings towards a certain character, in this case,
Alice Walker uses imagery and diction throughout her short story to tell the reader the meaning of “The Flowers”. The meaning of innocence lost and people growing up being changed by the harshness of reality. The author is able to use the imagery to show the difference between innocence and the loss of it. The setting is also used to show this as well.
The story Everyday Use was written by Alice walker. Alice walker was an American author, poet and activist. She has written many novels, poems and stories. She wrote both fiction and nonfiction books. Everyday use was one of her books and it was published in 1973. This story talks about a family that consists of the mother (narrator) and her two daughters’ (Dee and Maggie). In the story they never say anything about the father because he was dead. The main things that the story is revolving around is the heritage and how it is important, the relationship between the two sisters, how education makes a differences, and finally about how generations changed by time.
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. The oldest daughter, Dee, is an educated young women who redefines her identity and beliefs of her heritage. On the contrary, the youngest daughter, Maggie, leads a traditional lifestyle in the South with her mother and remains faithful to her idea of heritage. The author of the short story, Alice Walker, shares several parallels between her own life and this story. Kathleen Wilson, award winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship
This point of view contributes to this story is multiple ways. Mama narrating this story helps to give the reader insight into the past of the characters. Mama was there for everything that happened in the lives of her two daughters, Dee and Maggie. She knows their personalities and how they feel about their heritage and lives. As a result of Mama’s knowledge of these important details, Mama is able to add a contrast between the past and the present. Mama is able to tell the reader where Maggie’s burn scars came from, and what she thinks caused the fire. She tells the reader about the house burning, and how differently the two girls reacted to the fire. “How long ago was it that the house burned? Ten, twelve years? Sometimes I can still hear the flames and feel Maggie’s arms sticking to me, her hair smoking and her dress falling off her in little black papery flakes. Her eyes seemed stretched open, blazed open by the flames reflected in them. And Dee. I see her standing off under the sweet gum tree she used to dig gum out of; a look of concentration on her face as she watched the last dingy gray board of the house fall in toward the red-hot brick chimney. Why don’t you do a dance around the ashes? I’d wanted to ask her. She had hated the house that much” (167). This flashback that Mama shares with the reader provides insight to the personalities of her daughters. Mama tells the reader how Dee used to feel
In brief, “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker contains literary elements that draws back to a heritage. Walker wrote this short story to explain how each character saw their heritage. Some are proud, awed, but others are ashamed of their
Alice walker in Everyday Use demonstrates the understanding of African American heritage. Understanding your heritage is important because you should always look back on where you came from. Where you came from is such a big part of who you are and is something know one can take away from you. When you understand your heritage, you get to pass it on to others. Walker does this by using characterization, symbolism, and theme.
A constant comparison and contrast between Maggie and Dee is prominent structural feature of the narrative. This structural strategy helps in conceptualizing the plurality of female experience within the same milieu. This strategy encapsulates another dimension of womanism, viz., womanism refuses to treat black woman as a homogeneous monolith. Unlike feminist position, womanism is sensitive to change with time. This womanist conceptualization is shown by a nuanced destruction by Dee’s response to the quilt, which is the main metaphor in the story. A typical political rhetoric is represented in the character of Dee. This is a rhetoric which is more aggressive than mature, showier than subtle. Dee ends up in simplifying and commodifying culture, instead of relating it to any meaningful way. She comes out as a being who takes activism as a fad rather than a commitment. And, womanism here represented through Mama, calls for a critical relatedness to the heritage. The narrative articulates the shallowness of Dee’s