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Symbols Found In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

2063 words - 9 pages

On a daily basis, symbols are encountered everywhere. Symbols can be used to identify colors, objects or people. It can have a different meaning to what it really stands for. For example, yellow can symbolize sunshine and happiness and black can symbolize sadness and isolation. Like in the book Divergent, each faction had a symbol that symbolized what they were. The Dauntless symbol represented bravery and force while Abnegation stood for peace and happiness. Symbols are everywhere and are very useful.
In the short story, Mama Johnson who lives a rough life and has no man in her life is mother of both Maggie and Dee. This being said, it gives Mama the responsibility of playing both the father and mother role. Mama Johnson lives with her youngest daughter, Maggie, who is emotionally unstable and is traumatized by her past events, the burning of her house. Throughout the short story, Mama and Maggie get a letter from Dee saying she’s coming down to visit. Once Dee arrives, everything is automatically discomforting. She acts like she doesn’t remember the place when she grew up there her whole life. Dee starts asking for house hold pieces when she knows that Mama uses them daily. Mama being the generous person that she is; she gives them to her. Later on, Dee starts asking for quilts. Mama knows that those quilts are planned out for Maggie but Dee states that Maggie won’t appreciate them. After all, Dee wants to use them as art which shows she doesn’t appreciate her heritage. The story ends by Mama standing up for herself and giving Maggie the quilts. Dee storms out of the house without saying a proper goodbye to Maggie or Mama just because Mama refused to give her the family quilts that were already rightfully reserved for Maggie.
In Alice Walker’s Everyday Use, symbols are used to represent objects and people throughout the short story. The character, Dee who is a very judgmental person who cannot accept the place in which she was born and raised is full of insensitivity and is arrogant towards her family. She is a good example of misrepresentation of any heritage. According to Foleylan, he says that “Dee has changed her name to “Wangero” to get close o her so-called culture.” Dee changes her name thinking she will get closer to a culture she has no clue about. She is unoriginal and turns away from her real heritage/culture from where her name Dee came from. Dee then takes Mama’s house hold pieces to use as art when that is needed daily. Foleylan points out that “Another is how Dee wants the butter churn, the one which Mama uses everyday to make butter, and looks at it as if it were a piece of art.” This shows how Dee could care less about her heritage and where she came from. She sees those objects as something artsy when in reality, Mama needs it. The second is how Dee doesn’t fully follow her culture. In the story, Alice Walker writes how Dee and Hakim-a-Barber state, “I accept some of the doctrines, but farming and cattle is not my style.”...

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