Everyday Use: Alice Walker’s Writing Style And How It Helps Tell The Story

646 words - 3 pages

By looking at the last couple pages of Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use,” the reader can determine a certain style Walker uses to tell the story of a culture gap between an African American family. By using slang and incorrect word usage with Mama and proper, almost eloquent English with Dee, Walker is able to paint the perfect picture of how truly different the mother and daughter are. Also, Walker alternates between simple, often incomplete sentences with incorrect run-on sentences to depict Mama’s lack of proper education. Finally, Walker uses certain wording to indicate Mama’s feelings in regards to how her daughters act, ultimately helping her make her final decision in who gets the quilts.
First, the reader notices a stark contrast in the English language between Mama and Dee. Mama, the uneducated one, uses incorrect grammar throughout the story. Dee, having obtained a college degree, speaks very properly. When Mama tells Dee that she is going to give Maggie the quilts, Dee exclaims, “Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts…She’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use.” Dee’s sentences are in proper English form with no grammar or use of slang, which shows her advanced academics compared to Mama, who responds with, “I reckon she would…God knows I been saving ‘em for long enough with nobody using ‘em.” Mama does not speak in proper English syntax and she often uses slang words like “’em” and “reckon.” This shows that Mama and Dee are on opposite ends of the educational spectrum, thus further bridging the gap between mother and daughter. They do not see eye to eye on the quilts, and they do not see eye to eye on sentence structure.
Next, Walker’s variations of simple sentences, some even fragments, combined with long, run-on sentences provide the reader insight to Mama’s education, or lack thereof. Mama rarely gets a grammatically...

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