Everyday Use By Alice Walker Example Essay Example
Everyday Use By Alice Walker Example Essay Example

Everyday Use By Alice Walker Example Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (935 words)
  • Published: May 1, 2017
  • Type: Book Review
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Some claims that every literature tries to make a specific point. A good writer they say always associates her opinion, ideas and thoughts in her or his masterpiece. Moreover they incorporate literary devices for aesthetic purposes and to deliver the literature’s message in a more creative way.Some produce literature purely for entertainment stressing that life is funny and humorous, some include many ironies highlighting that life is complicated and hard to understand, some literature especially those classics are for the purpose of political movement portraying the kind of values and morality the society has, some are for the purpose of religion and spirituality, some literature was made to emphasize creativity or unconventional way of creating a literature redefining the stereotypical characterization, themes, settings, conflicts and endings, and most importantly some literature are made for the purpos


e of persuasion.

Literary works of writers especially from the past reflect their artistic interpretation of the world which is usually in the midst of inequalities, war and conflict. Literature basically speaks volumes about human ideas, emotions and nature that illustrate the kind of culture, religion and social orientation the writer has during the time he or she created it. The writer in the story “Everyday Use” creatively used her characters to point out her literature’s social messages. Alice Walker, the writer, apparently used characterization as her main literary device.

Every character in the story has an essential function. The multiple personality of Dee, Maggie and their Mother gives the readers the broadest possible spectrum of human behavior thus revealing the different side of human nature. The contrasting beliefs of Dee and those of her sister and mother are illustrated by the

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different values they place on their heritage. Alice Walker in this short story demonstrates that culture and heritage are not demonstrated through mere appearances and possession of objects but one’s lifestyle and attitude.

The contrasting personality of Mama, Dee and Maggie give the story its power. Dee is a reflection of a character that is misguided who is ordinarily struggling for an identity as an African American woman, while Mama and Maggie are characters who respect and preserve their culture. These three main characters personify the different sides of culture and heritage as they approach the importance of their origin differently. It can be learn very quickly from the very beginning of the short story that Mother is the very reflection of her ancestors.

Her being resilient and tough especially in terms of her physical endurance is part of her heritage. Dee character on the other hand can be compared to any ordinary American individual during the rise of industrialization and civil rights movement. She relates her heritage with material goods and with its aesthetic composition, as opposed to her ancestor’s habits and way of life. She was heavily influenced by her beauty, by becoming an educated and sophisticated young woman after leaving her hometown.

Her sister Maggie is the exact opposite of Dee. She lives in a run down home with her mother. Maggie envied Dee for her outward appearance, but by staying where she was born, she was taught to live life through the experiences and surroundings of her ancestors, and the traditions she adapts from her mother. Maggie mirrors her own mother’s life. When Dee made a visit to her home, she attempts to reconnect

with her heritage.

This visit will come to a realization of her misconception about heritage.Taking pictures of the family in front of the house and her want to acquire the old quilts hand stitched by her grandmother illustrates her perception that material items and tangible things are heritage. She perceive heritage as a materialistic object that should be displayed, observed and looked upon, but not lived through. She considered herself cultured that by taking the quilts in order to put them on display, she believes that she is respecting her heritage.

Dee’s pretense of preserving the things that reminds her of culture suggests her misconception about heritage.In great contrast with Dee, Maggie is a simplistic, good hearted person and bearer of old days and tradition. Maggie understands by heart the meaning and history behind every item at home because she has come in full contact with it. Mama passed the quilts to Maggie instead of Dee since she knows that with Maggie the quilts and its connection to heritage will continue to exist in the future.

Moreover, the major significance of quilts is reflected upon its usage and its “everyday use” not merely upon its aesthetics and outside appearance.The household items are used for everyday chores that have been with the family for generation. While some items were meaningless to Dee because of not giving so much consideration on its history way back, these items used by Mama and Maggie everyday signify their family’s heritage. The complexities of the characters in this story, the detailed descriptions and emotional appeal given to Dee, the mother and Maggie illustrate the two different valuations of cultural and traditional

heritage.Maggie and Mama represent a simple, content way of life where culture and heritage are valued both for usefulness and personal significance. While Dee illustrates her materialistic view of this world.

The writer also draws a picture of the story’s setting to show the lifestyles of Mama, Dee and Maggie. The three characters and their significance in the story reveal the underlying concepts of the story. The contrasting personality of the characters, that is Dee versus Mama and Maggie, revealed the people’s different approaches to culture- external versus its internal meaning.

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