Characterization is considered to be an element of literature. Analyzing characterization is the key to finding a fictional story’s theme, and it is made known through direct and indirect characterization. Direct characterization tells the personality or traits of the character, while indirect presents the character by their actions. Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” is a short story that reveals its theme through characterization and used by exposing the characters values, heritage, and insecurities. The literary sub¬genre of “Everyday Use” is realistic fiction. This story focuses its writing and plot around the values of a rural family. Walker’ story is about two sisters and a mother who live in a rural section of Georgia. The oldest daughter left and pursued a college career and after a while she decides visit her mother. At the end of her visit she intends to leave with some of the family heirlooms two quilts. The mother finds out her daughter only wants the quilts as a pretense of displaying heritage. Alice Walker story exposes the theme of heritage. Throughout the story, Walker uses indirect characterization to describe Dee, and direct characterization to describe Maggie and Mama, in order to reveal the different ways that people embrace their heritage. The indirect characterization of Dee shows how she embraces her heritage superficially. While Dee is shown to be spoiled and selfish, throughout the story her indirect characterization is shown through her own
Dee is portrayed as a light-skinned black person who feels as though she is better than everyone else because her waist is small, her skin is light, she has a nice grade of
Walker use of this situation shows a bigger issue in African Americans families. According to Werlock, the issue is must “African Americans turn their back of their background and traditional family.” According to Cowart, Dee believes she has escaped the ghetto. In her mind, she has the right to act different from her mother and sister because now she is living at a higher standard than they are. Yet with this mindset, she is trapped with them mentally.
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.
In "Everyday Use," Alice Walker stresses the importance of heritage. She employs various ways to reveal many aspects of heritage that are otherwise hard to be noticed.
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.
In the short story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, the two main characters, Maggie and Dee, are sisters who are very opposite to each other. Throughout the story, the girl’s differences become evident through their physical appearances, personalities, lifestyle decisions, and the way they feel about their heritage.
Although Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use” is evidently different than Flannery O’Connor’s short stories, “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” and “Revelation,” there seems to be a striking similarity between the main characters O’Connor and Walker chose for their stories. Dee, one of the main characters from Walker’s “Everyday Use,” the Grandmother from O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard To Find,” and Mrs. Turpin from O’Connor’s short story “Revelation,” all share one major flaw, that is, they feel a sense of superiority to those around them. Their self-glorification and prideful beliefs about themselves and the people surrounding them becomes the central conflict as each story unfolds. Dee’s insulting comments towards her Mama and younger sister Maggie about their lack of education, the Grandmother’s sense of moral superiority and her frequent passing of judgment onto others, along with Mrs. Turpin’s categorization of people based on their socioeconomic status and outward appearance, all illustrate the ugly reality of pride that is ever present in the human heart.
In short stories we have indirect characterization and direct characterization. Direct characterization is given to the reader when the author tells us about a character trait, while indirect characterization is when the reader reads between the lines. This short story speaks to the reader by using indirect characterization and direct characterization with insight to three women & how they perceive their heritage. "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker is a short story that reveals the perspective of humanity and the differences between two generations. Mama the older generation, and Dee, Maggie the younger generation. This story is a type of family drama that is surrounded by three characters with three different views of what heritage is to each. The story centers an African American family living in a house that is in a pasture after their first home burns down. After this events Mama became very cynical of Dees actions. In retrospect Dee has changed but Mama isn't able to see past old judgment. An Maggie may seem to live under her older sister shadow or so, we thought. "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker is a work of indirect and direct characterization that gives the reader insight of how the author characterizes the characters way of thought. In this story it is centered on how Mama, Dee, Maggie perceive heritage. Mama sees heritage as the skills that a passed down from one generation to next. Dee finds heritage throw preserving artifacts. While Maggie distinguishes heritage through memories.
“Everyday Use” demonstrates real life struggles during the period is was written and published (1973), by using historical criticism, we can see that people are often disconnected due to their education. Alice Walker successfully shows the disconnection of heritage value by having one character well-educated and young, and another character who was not able to get an education and is much older. Taking the historical context, plays a major role in the way this short story is viewed. It was a time where people of color had a different and difficult experiences getting an education. The narrator was talking about not being able to get an education, so it was important her daughter get an education; The narrator wanted to be on a television show with her daughters to demonstrate how successful she became. However Dee the narrator's daughter sees her mother and Maggie her sister differently as if they do not know how to appreciate things for their valuable history. One example is, when she wanted the quilts that were suppose to go to Maggie; Dee gets upset that she cannot have them and her mother does not understand why she wants to put them on display.
The story 'Everyday Use', written by Alice Walker, is a story of heritage, pride, and learning what kind of person you really are. In the exposition, the story opens with background information about Dee and Maggie's life, which is being told by Mama. The reader learns that Dee was the type of child that had received everything that she wanted, while Maggie was the complete opposite. The crisis, which occurs later in the story, happens when Dee all of a sudden comes home a different person than she was when she left. During the Climax, Mama realizes that she has often neglected her other child, Maggie, by always giving Dee what she wants. Therefore, in the resolution, Mama defends Maggie by telling Dee that she cannot have the
Jacques Derrida had once said that culture is something in which "everything is arranged so that it is this way." I believe that culture is the opposite as it creates the way in which you perceive external forces rather then it being the external forces arranged in a specific way. Culture therefore allows one to become informed about foreign cultures to which one is then to perceive the culture a specific way. Culture is the multitude of many factors in which it consistently informs one 's perception of the world surrounding them as well as the individuals.
After reading “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, you can understand how great this story is. There is a great lesson that is being taught in this story. The way Dee looks at her house as if it is only a collection of artifacts, and how disgusting and horrible it is, shows how she undervalues the worth of family. The way Dee wanted nice things, showed how she thought how being rich was important. After all, she was wrong, family and being love is more important. It was great to see Mama stand up to Dee, over Maggie’s quilt. I was shocked that Wangnero never really wanted to have the same culture has her family. It is disappointed that kids would leave their family tradition just to have materialistic things.
Characterization is used to address how ignorant a person can be to his or her heritage in the short story “Everyday Use,” by Alice Walker. The author shows the way of living, of a family to display the reader the way heritage is forgotten and, or ignored. In this short story the author uses a mother, and two daughters, Dee and Maggie, to demonstrate how different the thoughts are between a family and how they honor their heritage.
Dee?s character in the story is a direct relation to any number of people in society that do not know or are confused about their heritage. She is struggling to create an identity for herself, and is confused as to what it encompasses. She grasps at African tradition and culture, yet fails to acknowledge her own African American culture. This happened all over America, particularly in the North, in the 1960?s, following the civil rights movement. Dee is misconstruing her heritage as material goods, as opposed to her ancestor?s habits and way of life. This may be due in part to her leaving her hometown and becoming an educated, sophisticated young woman. Dee?s direct heritage is that of African Americans.
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.