This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Everyday Use Essay

948 words - 4 pages

*Thesis statement: The true way of appreciating one's own heritage lies not in the academic acknowledgement or posession of superficial objects but in one's living and breathing lifestyle and attitude.In "Everyday Use", the plot is relatively simple; older daughter comes home from school to visit Mama and her younger sister. She asks to have a couple of quilts that were made by her ancestors but Mama won't give them to her because they were for the younger sister. The angry older daughter storms out, then the story is over. But there is so much more into this story than the seemingly typical family conflict. It's about clashing of cultural values- forever dilemma of human nature and surely, a problem that we cannot neglect ourselves.Dee is the smart daughter who has gone away to study, and now came back home to pay them a visit. She is distinguished from the rest of her family by her physical appearance. She has a nice hair and a fuller figure. She has the guts to "always look anyone in the eye" and "at sixteen she already had a style of her own; and knew what style was." Dee is not only beautiful, but also the most educated one in the family. Unlike Mama who finished school at second grade, or Maggie who can barely read. But still, she has no awareness of her family's sacrifice for her nor does she seem to understand the state of her family. She doesn't know that if she takes Grandma Dee's butter dish, her family won't be able to have butter for meal. She continually blames them for the way they live, but she doesn't know that this is the best they can do. "where you 'choose' to live" , "You ought to try to make something of yourself, too, Maggie"- these words show her cruel, cold ignorance of her family's reality.But Maggie (the younger sister) and Mama are different. Mama describes herself as a "large, big-boned woman with rough man-working hands" who can't even look at a white man's eye, and whose "fat keeps her hot in zero weather". She is so stout that it is a struggle for her to even get up from a chair. Maggie is no better than her mother. She walks like a "lame dog" and her body is covered with burnt scars. Her best outfit is "pink skirt and red blouse". Even her mother calls her "homely". They represent the poverty and hardship that Dee was so apt to run away from. But still they possess many things that Dee does not. Mama "can kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man". Maggie actually knows how to quilt, and also knows all the family history. To them culture is not a dead superficial object; it is the ongoing life itself.The change of...

Find Another Essay On Everyday Use

Everyday Use Essay

813 words - 3 pages Everyday Use Dee stands out from her family in views of their heritage In Alice Walker's short story, "Everyday Use" she discuss the life of an African American family of a mother and her two daughters. The mother has a tremendous amount of love for both of her daughters, but the two are different individuals in terms of their personality. Maggie, the younger of the two, was much like her mother. Her and the mother both thought of themselves to

Everyday Use Essay

959 words - 4 pages The saying never judge a book by its cover is brought to mind when I read this story. "Everyday Use" has three main characters; Mama, Maggie, and Dee. The only things we know about these characters are through Mama's eyes. Mama is telling the story, so everything we read is from what she says. It is hard for us to know the true personalities of the characters because we learn of them through one characters point of view. It is also easy to

Everyday Use

950 words - 4 pages Cultural Conflict in Everyday Use In short story "Everyday Use" of Alice Walker present the different sides of culture and heritage between of two characters of Dee (Wangero) and her mother (the narrator). Dee can be seen to represent a materialistic, complex, and modern way of life where culture and heritage are to be valued only for their "trendy-ness" and artistic appeal. On the other hand, the mother character represents a traditional

Everyday Use

1545 words - 6 pages Everyday Use, a short story about the trials and tribulations of a small African American family located in the South, is an examination of black women’s need to keep their powerful heritage. It speaks on multiple levels, voicing the necessity and strength of being true to one’s roots and past; that heritage is not just something to talk about but to live and enjoy in order for someone to fully understand themselves. A sociological landmine, it

"Everyday Use"

739 words - 3 pages In “Everyday Use”, Alice Walker conveys the story of a mother and her two daughters’ conflicting ideas about their identities and ancestry. Mama is a simple woman that values culture and heritage for its usefulness but also its personal significance. However, her daughter Dee represents a materialistic way of life where culture and heritage are to be valued only for their artistic appeal. Even though Dee is the family's “gem” consisting of

Everyday Use - 1422 words

1422 words - 6 pages Jenny CalleProfessor Davinder SanghaJuly 8, 2014My HeritageHeritage is valued objects and qualities such as cultural traditions, unspoiled countryside, historic buildings, and properties among others that have been passed down from previous generations. As unique individuals, we view and appreciate heritage in different ways. "Everyday Use," written by Alice Walker, is about an African American family which is formed by Mama and her two

Everyday USe

928 words - 4 pages SUMMARY In the essay Everyday Use by Alice Walker, Walker depicts the misuse of the idea of what heritage means to different generations, from modern day to back in the day. In the beginning of the essay, Walker describes the narrator, Mama, as a burly woman with manly characteristics. Whether it was breaking ice to get water for washing, or knocked a bull out between the eyes with a sledgehammer and had the meat hung up and chilled for the next

everyday use

795 words - 4 pages Everyday use is a story about the relationship between a mother and her two daughters. In the story we find out that Mama (the narrator) has a certain distaste of her daughter Dee. This dislike probably stems from the fact that Dee shuns her family. Because of Dee`s lack of respect toward her family, Mama favors her other daughter, Maggie, over Dee. Maggie is regarded as a little less brighter than her sister, but is shown to be more humble. The

Everyday Use

946 words - 4 pages In the short story Everyday Use, by Alice Walker, the short story is narrated by a black woman in the South who is faced with the decision to give away two quilts to one of her two daughters. Dee, her oldest daughter who is visiting from college, perceives the quilts as popular fashion and believes they should undoubtedly be given to her. Maggie, her youngest daughter, who still lives at home and understands the family heritage, has been

Symbolism in "Everyday Use"

1615 words - 6 pages , anything represents something. This is most likely your tone of mood. Also, signs outdoors have symbols. Like signs you see on the road, express way, ditches, restaurants, stores, etc. Most likely everywhere, you just got to pay more attention in what is outdoors and what’s around you. In the short story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker it’s about a mother named Mama Johnson has two daughters who are not very much alike. Her older daughter Dee

Alice walkers everyday use

823 words - 3 pages children her age. Alice's feeling of being older than she was shows in her writing of the short story "Everyday Use". One of the story's main character's, Maggie, is a direct relation to the beginning of Alice Walker's life. Maggie, though we don't know her exact age, appears to be a young woman. The story tells of her past as though Alice Walker was telling a slightly altered version of her own life up to that point. Maggie was burned in a fire

Similar Essays

Everyday Use Essay 585 Words

585 words - 2 pages Everyday Use Question 5 America is a country with a great diversity among its people. It is a place where different cultures, values, principles, beliefs and standards are often clashing against each other. Many writers often emphasize these different values by using characters who are estranged from that culture because of their position in relation to others. In "Everyday Use", a short story written by Alice Walker, a character named Dee

Everyday Use Essay 1302 Words

1302 words - 5 pages The Meaning of Heritage in "Everyday Use" By Alice Walker In the short story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, she introduces a rural black family who struggle with the meaning of heritage. To Mama, the narrator, and Maggie, the youngest daughter, heritage is whom they are, where they come from, and the everyday use of the things around them. Dee, the oldest daughter, has rejected her heritage from the beginning. She wants the better things in

Everyday Use Essay 884 Words

884 words - 4 pages Everyday Use When we meet our narrator, the mother of Maggie and Dee, she is waiting in the yard with Maggie for Dee to visit. The mother takes simple pleasure in such a pleasant place where, "anyone can come back and look up at the elm tree and wait for the breezes that never come inside the house." (Walker 383) This is her basic attitude, the simple everyday pleasures that have nothing to do with great ideas, cultural heritage or family

Everyday Use Essay

1250 words - 5 pages The characters in “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker serve as a comparison between how family heritage and traditions are viewed. Walker illustrates that heritage is represented not by the possession of items or how they look, but buy how they are used, how one’s attitude is, and how they go about a daily lifestyle. Every memory or tradition in “Everyday Use” strengthens the separation in the relationship between Dee and her mother, the narrator