Everyday Use Analytical Essay

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Characterization is used to address how ignorant a person can be to his or her heritage in the short story “Everyday Use,” by Alice Walker. The author shows the way of living, of a family to display the reader the way heritage is forgotten and, or ignored. In this short story the author uses a mother, and two daughters, Dee and Maggie, to demonstrate how different the thoughts are between a family and how they honor their heritage.

Maggie is used in the story to show the reader how heritage is still followed and respected in a family. The narrator, Mama, describes Maggie’s appearance as not a so good looking girl. She is a burned child from an incident the family had: “[T]hat fire that burned the other house to the ground” (Mama). Mama also describes how scarred Maggie’s arms and legs are. The narrator said, “[H]omely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs…” (Mama). Maggie is described as a bad looking girl. On the other hand, Maggie’s personality is described to the reader as a really nice girl. She is also shown to be really caring, for example, when her sister wanted the quilts Maggie said, “She can have them, Mama” (Magie). This shows the reader that Maggie puts people before herself. Although Maggie has such a great heart, her social life doesn’t seem to fit with her. She is shown to be a loner. The narrator illustrates the reader that Maggie is attached to her mother. Mama stated, “[T]he two of us sat there just enjoying, until it was time to go in the house and go to bed” (Mama). This informs the reader how much time both Maggie and Mama spent together.

Mama’s appearance in the short story is shown to the reader as a big boned woman. The narrator states, “[I] am a large, big boned woman with rough, man working hands” (Mama). Because of this quote the reader can then comprehend that the narrator is a thick woman. The author also shows the reader that Mama is a strong woman: “One winter I knocked a bull calf straight in the brain between...
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