Past and Present Connections: Alice Walker’s Use of First Person Point of View in “Everyday Use”

1532 Words Apr 12th, 2011 7 Pages
Alice Walker’s use of first person point of view allows us to form closer connections to the story by enabling the reader to better understand Mama’s views. The role of Mama as narrator helps us transgress through a story that when first read, seems like a fairly simple story about a Black woman, her two distinct daughters, and a quilt with an undetermined destination. Upon closer reading and analysis of the role of Mama as narrator, it is apparent that this is not just a simple tale of a Black woman, her two daughters and a quilt, but the story of Black women, their heritage, and the quilt as a symbol for that heritage and the generations of history associated with that heritage. Through Mama’s narration we will see Mama’s internal …show more content…
She realized it was beautiful and how it was made from the beautiful tree in the backyard of where her sister Big Dee and her first husband Stash used to live (Par 54). Through first person narration we connect to Mama’s deep, inner feelings as Mama is in the process of understanding the value of these objects in which carry historical significance to her family. Only through first person narrative can we as the readers get an immediate sense of what Mama is feeling and how her character is developing.
The final straw that broke the camel’s back for Mama was when Dee wanted to possess the one quilt that has been passed down from generation to generation. It wasn’t that she wanted it so much as she had no clue of the simple value of those quilts. Dee claims to want them to hang on the wall and to keep safe the heritage and the history of those quilts rather than for Mama to give them to Maggie because she thinks Maggie will just put them to “everyday use” and ruin them. Dee didn’t know the history of those quilts as much as she claimed that she did. To Mama, that quilt was the bits and pieces of memories and history passed on from her great grandma’s time. In the beginning, Mama was planning to give them to Dee and actually had offered it to her but Dee didn’t want them back then. Dee said the quilt was pieces of her grandma’s dresses but in fact, they were bits and pieces of all the past generations clothes