An Analysis on “Everyday Use” Essay
In her story “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker is telling the story though the eyes of Mama, who is the narrator of this story. The story begins by describing the beautiful garden, which is like an extended living room on a common day. Then Mama introduces one of her two daughters, Maggie, whose life is held away by her sister. This story tells about many different themes and issues in common daily life.
One of the major themes in “Everyday Use” is contrasting ways of life and thinking.The narrator says that she has had a dream in which she is on a TV show with her daughter Dee and the host is congratulating her on raising such a fine girl as her daughter. Then the narrator moves from her description of her dream to bring reality to light. “In real life I am a large, big-boned woman with rough man-working hands” (page. 161), the narrator says, and she compares herself to a man who works so hard even to kill hogs.
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In contrast, her daughter wants her to be a hundred pounds lighter, skin like an uncooked barley pancake and with a witty tongue.She says “but that is a mistake” (page. 161), she wants her mother to look more white. It is clear that the narrator and her daughter Dee have the different expectations about their own mothers. The story continues Maggie comes out and asks how she looks in her pink skirt and red blouse. The narrator lets Maggie come out to the yard and compares her to a lame animal when viewing the way she walks. Maggie has her head down and her feet shuffle.
As the narrator explains, there was a fire that burned her other house to the ground.The narrator tells something about the scene during the fire: Maggie stuck her arms to the Narrator sadly; Dee was standing off under the sweet gum tree to watch the house burning with a look of concentration. It is obvious that the narrator and her daughter Maggie love their house, but Dee hates it. The story continues the narrator says that she used to think that Dee hated Maggie just as much as the house, but she admits that it was before. Dee is sent to a school to Augusta by the narrator with the help of her church. Dee used to read to the family without pity after she comes back from school.Dee thinks this knowledge is very useful; however, in her mother’s opinion it is a “lot of knowledge we didn’t necessarily need to know” (page.
162). While Dee values education, her mother and sister do not even understand why reading is important. Again, the theme of contrasts, which are between rural and sophisticated as well as educated and uneducated, become clear. At the last half of the story, the family has a happy meal together. Dee changes a lot—she has named after her aunt, who had been named after her grandmother. Now her name is Wangero. Dee has completely taken her mother by surprise with this change.
During the meal, they talks a lot. The narrator brings Maggie close and hugs her and then snatches the quilt of Dee’s hands and gives them to Maggie; in addition, Dee walks out, gets her boyfriends and says that her mother doesn’t understand her heritage and that things are different for black people now. It is common for people have contrasting ways of life and thinking; however, we should not let it hurt the love of the family. Work Cited Walker, Alice. ”Everyday Use. ” Literature and the writing process.
Ed. Elizabeth Mcmahan, Susan X. Day, Robert Funk, and Linda Colman. 9th ed.
Boston: Longman, 2011. 161-167. Print.