“Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, is a story of a black family composed of a mother and her two daughters: Maggie and Dee. Walker does an excellent job illustrating her characters. There are all types of characters in this short story from round to static. Dee is a flat character, yet Walker uses Dee’s character to warn people of what might happen if they do not live properly. Walker describes Dee’s character as arrogant and selfish, and through Dee’s character one is allowed to perceive the wicked effect of an egotistical world.
When she heard Dee’s request, she slammed the door and stormed out of the kitchen. This shows that Dee’s arrogance left a negative influence on Maggie’s personality. It’s almost like Dee is trying to take away any happiness life throws out at Maggie. Although Maggie was deformed and neglected, it should not mitigate her need for joy in her life.
A daughter who uses her mother's gifts in contrast to a daughter who preserves them, is far more valuable just like in “Everyday use” by Alice Walker because heritage values can be preserved. From here on, Walker utilizes a prideful tone which later shifts into an authoritative tone by illustrating a proud mother who becomes defensive because of her modern daughter’s opposing views.
Dee's physical beauty can be defined as one of her biggest assets. The fact that Maggie sees Dee "with a mixture of envy and awe" (160) lets the reader know that Dee has the more favorable appearance. The simplistic way in which Walker states that “Dee is lighter than Maggie, with nicer hair and a fuller figure,” (161) gives the reader the idea that Dee's beauty has made it easier for her to be accepted outside her family in society, “…her sister has held life always in the palm of one hand, that ‘no’ is a word the world never learned to say to her,” (160). One is left with the impression that Dee's appearance is above average. Walker plays on Dee's physical beauty to contrast the homeliness of Maggie and her mother. Walker goes so far as to describe her feet as being more favorable as if God only wanted Dee to have pretty feet, “Her feet were always
In the story, she introduces two sisters with almost opposite personalities and different views on heritage: Maggie and Dee. She uses the contrast between the two sisters to show how one should accept and preserve one's heritage. Beyond the contrast between two sisters there exist the judge figure mom, the narrator and the Dee's irony. The irony on Dee's opinion is the key to understand the story and why the mother let Maggie keep the quilts, which symbolize the heritage.
In Alice Walker's short story "Everyday Use" Mama is the narrator. She speaks of her family of two daughters Maggie and Dee. Through the eyes of two daughters, Dee and Maggie, who have chosen to live their lives in very different manners, the reader can choose which character to identify most with by judging what is really important in one’s life. Throughout the story three themes consistently show. These themes show that the family is separated by shame, knowledge, and pride.
Maggie and Dee have completely different physical appearances than each other. Maggie has a thin body figure, and her arms and legs are scarred from the house fire. Maggie is jealous of Dee’s beauty, and she seems to be ashamed of the way she looks. Mama says, “Maggie will be nervous until after her sister goes: she will stand hopelessly in corners, homely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs, eyeing her
The way the burning house, her stuck-up sister, and society influenced Maggie make her unique in relation to others. Maggie was so damaged from her home burning down that she turned into a meek and undervalued young lady. Maggie is so unsure that her mother says she walks like a dog run over by a car: “chin on chest eyes on ground, feet in shuffle, ever since the fire that burned the other house on the ground.” This demonstrates that Maggie absence of self-confidence make her frightened to look. She imagines that on the off chance that she can’t see the individuals around her, then they can’t see her. What’s more, Maggie’s discernible scars have impacted on the way she conducts herself. As indicated by Mama, when she was pulling Maggie out of the fire, her arms were adhering, “her hair was smoking, and her dress was tumbling off her in minimal dark papery pieces.” This is huge light of the fact that indicates how much the flame really physically scarred her. This additionally clarifies why she is so apprehensive about individuals seeing her. Maggie’s apparent compressed version of confirmation in herself is created basically by the fire. The barbaric way Maggie’s sister, Dee, presents herself awful impact on Maggie’s certainly. At this point when Dee inquired as to whether she can have some unique quilts and Mama says no on the grounds that she
Through humorous comments, the mother paints a picture of what she is thinking, and allows the audience to see her as she is, and not as the world and those around her perceive her to be. Specifically the mother describes the characters appearance, and actions, as well as offers analogies, such as mothers on T.V. To support her view of reality, or how things really were, in her opinion. As the story progressed, she reveals cultural differences between Mama, Maggie and Dee. Walker also points out the importance of respecting your immediate heritage such as parents, and other family, and truly knowing and internalizing the real meaning of racial
The beginning of the story involved a lot of characterizing on the youngest sister Maggie. Before her older sister Dee arrived at the house, her actions showed that she was scared to see her sister. “Maggie will be nervous until after her sister goes: she will stand hopelessly in corners, homely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs, eying her sister with a mixture of envy and awe. She thinks her sister has held life always in the palm of one hand, that "no" is a word the world never learned to say to her” said the mother.
Although the story "Everyday Use" is narrated from Mama's point of view, Alice Walker reveals Dee, Mama's eldest daughter, to be the central character. Dee remains essentially unchanged throughout the story. Even though Dee achieves her aim by overcoming complications such as poverty and racial discrimination, she is not admirable for her achievements and courage. Walker describes her to be selfish and self-centered, a woman who remains unchanged from her childhood to the current position after several years. The disregard for her sister's pain, ingratitude for the money raised for her education, and the desire for quilts indicates her static behavior.
Through contrasting family members and views in "Everyday Use", Alice Walker illustrates the importance of understanding our present life in relation to the traditions of our own people and culture. Using careful descriptions and attitudes, Walker demonstrates which factors contribute to the values of one's heritage and culture; she illustrates that these are represented not by the possession of objects or mere appearances, but by one's lifestyle and attitude.
In Alice Walker's “Everyday Use” she uses a tactic to set a mood for the reader by bringing in the character Maggie. Walker's use of language when describing Maggie creates a picture of a physically scarred and unintelligent girl. Maggie's physical scarring is pointed out
Unlike Dee, Walker’s description of Maggie is seen as an unattractive and awkward girl. Her mother notes “good looks passed her by” (355). Furthermore, she carries herself with low self-esteem, “chin on chest, eyes on ground” (355). Besides her appearance, when Maggie is first introduced in the story, Mama points out that she is nervous about her sister’s visit and “will stand hopelessly in corners, homely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs, eyeing her sister with a mixture of envy and awe” (355).
In "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, Walker shows differences in human character, just by the way they act towards family members. The main character in the story, Mother, has two daughters that she treats very differently, and they treat her differently. One daughter looks down on Mother in a condescending manner, and the other is obedient and kind. In "Everyday Use", Walker shows that in relationships between a mother and daughters, adaptation to change can sometimes be very hard, which leads to pride and protecting what one has accomplished, and finally shows how un-appreciation can hinder these relationships.