Everyday Use Analysis Essay

1708 WordsSep 2, 20107 Pages
Ellen Johnson Mr. Roberts AP English 4 13 Apr 2010 Dee: the Sister Who Lost Her Identity Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" is a short story about the clash between a mother and daughter. Dee is the child returning home to visit. The visit is not exactly pleasant and ends after a stand-off between her and Mama. Many readers see Mama as finally standing up for her own ideals while also refusing to conform to the rules Dee wishes her to follow. Dee follows different rules of society and religion than her mother does in order to become her own person. The rules Dee follows are shallow compared to the old-fashioned ways of her mother. In "Everyday Use", Walker tells a story of a child who believes her mother's views to be old-fashioned and…show more content…
To prove further the point that Dee only embraces her past for the stylish sense, Walker describes how "Dee wanted nice things. A yellow organdy dress to wear to her graduation from high school; black pumps to match a green suit she'd made…she had a style of her own and she knew what style was" (90). Her mother is not pretentious and follows a more traditional set of rules and wears clothes more sensible for living in a farmhouse. Mama thinks to herself, "[i]n the winter I wear flannel nightgowns to bed and overalls during the day" (Walker 90). Yet Dee's style changes with the changing times and she has just adopted the current fashion. Houston Baker writes, "[a]ssured by the makers of American fashion that 'black' is currently 'beautiful,' she has conformed her own 'style' to that notion." So when she goes to visit her mother, the first thing Mama notices about Dee's appearance is her newly adopted African style: A dress to the ground in this hot weather. A dress so loud it hurts my eyes. There are yellows and oranges enough to throw back the light of the sun. I feel my whole face warming from the heat waves it throws out. Earrings gold, too, and hanging down to her shoulders. Bracelets dangling and making noises when she moves her arm up to shake the folds of the dress out of her armpits. (Walker 91) Here she is showing off her
Open Document