Everyday Use Analysis by Alice Walker

Everyday Use Analysis by Alice Walker
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In Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use” she describes a family relationship, and how the relationship is critical to social the wellbeing of the family members. The main character Mama fanaticizes a television show where her family members bury their differences to accept each other. The setting of the story is probably in 1960. During that period, the White people dominated the Black people. In the story, Mama states that she received little education. Further, she gives a description of herself by mentioning that her white husband has to bear with her witty tongue. However, Mama is in control of her family, bringing her daughters together. Although Dee and Margie project different characteristics, their mother is able to influence their lives.

Walker (2) gave her book a family setting where Mama and her daughters project different interests. The diversity of the character’s background enables the reader to identify the time described in the story. For instance, Mama confesses that she got no more than second-grade education. Her daughter Maggie did not receive any much education; however, Dee has received much education and she uses her education to force words into their ears of her mother. Walker used Mama to project the importance of social heritage. For instance, Mama’s remark in the story portrays her as an African woman who respects her cultural background. She boasts of her strength that she likes to be like a man. On the contrary, Dee does not respect the same; instead, she criticizes the ideals of her home using the knowledge she has gained through education.

Mama’s voice in the story portrays her as strong character. She is not only proud about her heritage, but also stood to protect it. She represented the traditional heritage. Her actions and attitude towards her environment reveal her notion about life. Conversely, her daughter Dee represented the modern lifestyle. In most cases, she disapproves of the traditional methods, forcing her parents to take her to modern college. The two characters Mama and Dee show strong abilities as opposed to Maggie who feel shy but promote the old tradition.

In the story, Walker (2) used symbolic language to portray themes in the story. For instance, making quilt is a traditional craft, which Mama and Maggie embraces. This symbol stood for the old tradition. On the other hand, Dee has rejected this tradition replacing it with the knowledge she has acquired from school. Milking a cow is another symbol of traditional heritage. Mama does the milking with a lot of pride. In the novel, Dee is satirical in her rejection of traditional heritage because she uses the traditional items, yet she projects open criticism against these items. Their family house is traditional; however, she does not stop using it. Another instance of irony in the story is the perception of Maggie and Mama. The two characters believe that their traditional house is a mansion with a front extension. These instances help the reader to understand the characteristic of the characters.

In summary, Walker’s Everyday Use projected two different social backgrounds. Mama and her daughters Maggie represented the old heritage whereas Dee believed in modernity. The perception of the characters with respect to their social heritage does not divide their family. The authored used the characters as symbols of old tradition and the modern system. The behavior of the characters helps the reader to identify their personality.

Work Cited

Walker, Alice. Everyday Use. Web 7 June 2012 http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ug97/quilt/walker.html