Essay about Alice Walker's Everyday Use

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In every family there seems to be a child that is bestowed with all of the positive aspects of her parents. Unfortunately, for every perfect child there is, it seems that there is one child that is less talented and less beautiful. In the short story, "Everyday Use", these two character descriptions fit perfectly in relation to the characters of Dee and Maggie. Dee is the gifted and beautiful child, whereas Maggie seems to have been left behind by the gene pool and luck. In her short story, "Everyday Use", Alice Walker utilizes language, the tragedy of the fire burning down Maggie's family's house, and her portrayal of Dee to pain an extremely sympathetic portrait of Maggie.

Walker's use of language when describing
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However, when contrasted with the description we receive of Maggie, the description of Dee creates sympathy with the reader because it seems unfair that Dee would be given the gift of beauty and Maggie was not. The picture is even bleaker when you factor in that Dee is Maggie's older sister and Maggie probably grew up realizing how beautiful Dee was, and hoping to one day be just as beautiful. Maggie's physical scars created by the fire and the description of Dee as beautiful leave the reader feeling a great amount of compassion for Maggie.

The sympathy allotted to Maggie by the reader is not based solely on her physical scarring, her lack of intelligence also. These feelings are created by Walker's use of language when Mama again states, "Sometimes Maggie reads to me. She stumbles along good-naturedly by can't see well. She knows she is not bright. Like good looks and money, quickness passed her by" (384-85). There are several terms in this quotation that help construct sympathetic feelings. First, it is pointed out that she cannot see well; second, the admission by Mama that Maggie knows that she is not intelligent; third, the statement that good looks, money, and quickness passed her by. When these three facts are combined with the physical scarring, it fashions a portrait of Maggie as a woman that is physically deformed, has a difficulty with her vision, is
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