Essay Maggie Character Analysis from "Everyday Use"

676 WordsSep 10, 20093 Pages
Have you ever noticed how some people just stand out from the crowd? Like the clouds in the sky and blades of grass, people are all different. “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker has a good example of an interesting, unique character. Maggie is a young girl who is not only physically but also mentally scarred. The way the burning house, her stuck-up sister, and society affects Maggie makes her different from everyone else. Maggie was so traumatized from her house burning down that she became a timid and under appreciated little girl. Maggie is so self conscious that her mom 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 to the ground.” This…show more content…
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. Alice Walker juxtaposes Maggie with her sister, Dee, to demonstrate how society denigrates not only African-American women but women in general in the 1970s. Early on in the story, Maggie is described as nervous, hopelessly standing in the corner. Later she is described as nearly hidden from view. On a metaphorical level, Maggie is the symbol of the lack of power women held in the 1970s. She is the epitome of the silent female homemaker. On the other hand, Dee is assertive, “will look you right in the eye.” She serves as a symbol of the free, successful modern woman. However, her assertiveness might come off as cockiness, and too much pride. By contrasting Maggie and Dee, Alice Walker is expressing both sides of the female role during that time. All in all, Maggie is a very distinctive character. Her house burning to the ground, her arrogant sister, and the effect society has on her explains that. Alice Walker has a very interesting way of putting together two opposites to make one of their personalities very clear; Maggie’s persona would be
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