Everyday Use

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  • Topic: Alice Walker, American people of Irish descent, Character
  • Pages : 2 (621 words )
  • Download(s) : 116
  • Published : April 11, 2006
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Story Analysis: Everyday Use by Alice Walker (602 Words)

In the story, "Everyday Use", author Alice Walker uses everyday objects, which are described in the story with some detail, and the reactions of the main characters to these objects, to contrast the simple and practical with the stylish and faddish. Walker's main writing power seems to be description and imagery along with a little flashback every now and then. Flashback played a bug role because with every event in the story, the reader could expect an explanation with past events. The main characters in this story, "Mama" and Maggie on one side, Dee on the other, each have opposing views on the value and worth of the various items in their lives, and the author uses this conflict to make the point that the substance of an object, and of people, is more important than style. The main characters in this story appear to be polar opposites. Mama, the narrator of the story, describes herself as a "large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands." She does not paint a pretty picture of herself; however she goes on to list her abilities. Like the items in the setting around her, she seems more interested in practicality, and less interested in aesthetics. Dee, on the other hand, is defined by her sense of style, and does not seem to do anything. When her name was Dee, she hated the objects around her for their lack of beauty and style. When she became a member of the Nation of Islam and changed her name to Wangero, she saw these old items as a part of her heritage and works of art. At no time did she ever have a real use for them. The objects that lead to the final confrontation between Dee and Mama are the old quilts. These quilts are described as being made from old material by family members, which gives special meaning to Mama, and the detail with which they are described increases the sense of setting. Dee sees the quilts as having historical and cultural value because of the hand stitching...
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