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Everyday Use By Alice Walker Theme

Alice Walker is an American novelist, short story writer, and poet. She wrote the novel “The Color Purple” for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Alice Walker was born in 1944 in Eatonton, Georgia, USA to Willie Lee Walker and Minnie Lou Tallulah Grant. Alice Walker grew up in a sharecropper family with seven siblings.

When Alice Walker was eight years old, she was accidentally shot in the eye with a BB gun by one of her brothers. As a result, Alice Walker became blind in that eye. Despite this accident, Alice Walker went on to attend Spelman College and then Sarah Lawrence College. Alice Walker is best known for her novels “The Color Purple” and “Meridian”, as well as her short story “Everyday Use”.

Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use” is about a mother and her two daughters. The mother is trying to raise her daughters the best way she can, but the daughters have different ideas about what that means. One daughter, Maggie, has been scarred by a fire that burned down their house. The other daughter, Dee, is more interested in what she sees as her African heritage. Dee comes home from college and wants to take some of the quilts that were made by her grandmother.

Maggie doesn’t want to give them up, because she uses them every day. The quilts become a symbol of the different ways the two sisters see themselves and their heritage. Alice Walker uses the quilts to show how important it is to remember where you come from and the people who have gone before you.

Alice Walker illustrates the disparities between three female characters–“Mama,” Maggie, and Dee–in her short story “Everyday Use.” While Mama only attended second grade and Dee graduated college, both women experienced unique childhoods that shaped their adult lives.

Maggie was burned in a house fire when she was younger and is mentally challenged. Alice Walker grew up in the South during the Civil Rights Movement. This short story is an example of how racism has changed over time. Even though Mama, Dee, and Alice are all black women, they have different outlooks on life because of their different experiences.

Mama is a hardworking woman who owns a small farm. She is not educated and does not have much money. Maggie is her youngest daughter who was burned in a house fire when she was younger. She is not as smart as her sister Dee, but she is a hard worker. Dee is the middle child and the smartest one in the family. She goes to college and then comes back to visit her family.

When Dee comes back to visit, she is not the same person as she was when she left. She has changed her name to Wangero and is interested in African culture. She wants to take some of the quilts that Mama has made and give them to a museum. Maggie does not want to give away the quilts because she knows how much work Mama put into them. Dee also tries to take the butter churn, but Mama will not let her have it.

Dee is angry with her mother and sister because they do not understand her new way of thinking. She feels like they are living in the past and that they do not know anything about African culture. However, Mama is proud of her heritage and does not want to forget where she came from.

In the end, Dee takes the quilts anyway and leaves with her new boyfriend. Mama is sad, but she is also proud of her daughter for following her dreams. Maggie is happy to have the quilts because she knows how much they mean to Mama.

Alice Walker’s story “Everyday Use” is a powerful story about family, culture, and tradition. It shows how people can have different perspectives on the same thing. It is also a reminder that we should never forget where we came from.

Because of her scars and burns from the fire, Maggie was always self-conscious as a youngster. Mama was not your typical mother. Instead of being at home raising the children, cooking and cleaning, she was a strong-built mother that milked the cows, boasted about her hunting abilities, and how quickly she can clean up after an animal dies. “I’m a huge woman with big bones and rough man’s hands in reality.”

Mama taught her girls to work hard and be independent.

Dee was the total opposite of Maggie. Dee was lighter skinned with long hair that she always kept neat and styled. She was educated and had ambitions to be something great. When Dee came home from college she had changed her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo. She told Mama and Maggie that they should no longer call her Dee, but Wangero. “She’s dead,” she said. “I am alive.”

Wangero looked down on Maggie because she was not as educated or well-spoken as her. She also thought that Maggie did not appreciate their culture as much as she did.

Dee had a tremendous degree of self-assurance, believing she was superior to Maggie and Mama. Her confidence empowered her to “look down on any catastrophe.” “She thinks her sister has always had control over her life in the palm of one hand, that “no” is a word the world never learned to say to her.” (Walker 2) Dee has deep contempt for the house due to all of the terrible memories she had as a youngster, and how she resented Mama because she was forced to do everything.

Dee is also envious of Maggie because she was able to have an easy life, and never had to work hard like Dee did. Dee is ungrateful for everything that her family has done for her, and she only cares about herself. Maggie on the other hand, is a very shy and submissive person. She is scared of her own shadow, and is always nervous.

Maggie is not confident like Dee, but she is content with who she is. Maggie loves the house because it’s all she has ever known, and it’s a part of her. “She will wait to be asked to sit in one of the plastic chairs…She will stand hopelessly in corners…” (Walker 3) Mama is a very strong and independent woman.

She has been through a lot in her life, and has overcome many obstacles. Mama is proud of who she is, and where she came from. Even though she is not as educated as Dee, she is still smart and wise. Mama is grateful for everything she has, and is always thankful. “Maggie will be nervous until after her sister goes: Dee makes her feel unsure with her laughing…and deep eyes.” (Walker 2)

Though Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use” is titled appropriately enough, considering the commonplace presence of quilts in the lives of the characters, these blankets are not merely utilitarian items. Instead, they are imbued with great meaning, history, and sentimentality. The quilts represent the characters’ different attitudes toward their heritage and the way they choose to preserve it.

For Dee, the quilts are simply old-fashioned decorations that can be hung on the wall as “art.” She has no emotional attachment to them and does not see them as part of her own history. In contrast, Maggie recognizes the value of the quilts as both functional objects and as important family heirlooms. To her, they represent a connection to her ancestors and to her own history.

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