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Point of View in Alice Walker's Everyday Use Essay examples

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Point of View in Alice Walker's Everyday Use

Alice Walker is making a statement about the popularization of black culture in "Everyday Use". The story involves characters from both sides of the
African American cultural spectrum, conveniently cast as sisters in the story. Dee/Wangero represents the "new black," with her natural hairdo and brightly colored clothing. Maggie remains traditional: the unchanged, unaffected bystander. Nowhere in the dialogue do Walker's characters directly mention their feelings about the Americanization of African tradition. But Walker somehow gets the reader to believe this popularization itself can actually turn into a form of exploitation.
By telling the story from the mother's
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She says Dee wears
"a dress so loud it hurts my eyes. Her hair... stands straight up like wool on a sheep." The mother is also surprised that Wangero feels oppressed by her Christian name, "Dee", a white name, possibly a slave-owner's. As far as the narrator is concerned, Dee was named after her aunt Dicie, who was named after Grandma Dee and so on, since before the Civil War. "Why should I trace it that far back?" the mother asks Wangero. Then, for the reader's sake, adds, "[Asalamalakim] and Wangero sent eye signals over my head." The mother is aware of what's going on. After all, she observes this action. But she may not be aware of the connotations these eye signals carry. Walker does not allow the mother to elaborate, so the couple's optic conversation is left up to the imagination of the reader. The reader knows the look represents
Wangero's patient tolerance of what she interprets as her traditional mother's passive ignorance. In both cases the mother just describes what she sees. The reader, on the other hand, immediately knows what kind of character the mother is dealing with.

Wangero is abrasive. She asks to keep items from the house, items
Maggie and her mother still use every day. She talks down to her mother and sister. She is a tourist in her own culture. We know this only because of small hints the narrator gives, all dropped
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