The Meaning of "Everyday Use" with Characterization

1495 Words Jul 11th, 2013 6 Pages
The Meaning of "Everyday Use" with Characterization Analyzing characterization is the key to find fiction's controlling idea and central insight--theme. Direct presentation--one character description technique--usually directly shows what characters are like by exposition, analysis, or another character's description. The other way to shape characters is to use the indirect presentation by describing their actions and leaving room for readers to develop their own ideas about the characters. "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker is a short story that expresses the conflicts between people's different attitudes and values of heritage. This story is a dramatic story, but one that uses first-person point of view to narrate the story, which gives …show more content…
This process is about abstracting the heritage objectively. Only with this process can Dee understand that the essences of all the heritages are all about the spirits and behaviors of specific group in a certain era, without attaching any differences between high and low. Therefore, Dee's character and behavior also reflect that her thinking of heritage is objective- oriented. Maggie's view of heritage, on the contrary, can be known as subjective-oriented in this story by both indirect and direct presentations. Readers can analyze Maggie's behaviors and Mama's descriptions about her to understand that she attempts to consider heritage as emotional sustenance and value, and can be passed on by putting it into everyday use with self-experiencing. When Maggie tries to give the quilt to Dee, she says that "'I can remember Grandma Dee without the quilts'" (115). This narration of Maggie should be regarded as an indirect presentation because readers need to judge her by thinking of her action of speaking. This indirect presentation clearly shows Maggie's view of heritage. As the view of Maggie, the function of the quilt is to remind her about her grandmother. Maggie places her missing of Grandma into the quilt specifically, and keeps it to be her emotional sustenance. Many pieces of memory will be reminded when she sees this emotional sustenance, thus she will get spiritual solaces. In

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