Everyday Use Character Analysis and Female Perspective

Topics: Past tense Pages: 2 (706 words) Published: August 22, 2012
In Alice Walker’s short story, “Everyday Use” she writes of three women with different personalities, all of which illustrate a complete woman. The story tells of a woman who is strong and forthright, one who is arrogant and self-centered, and another who is depicted as docile and timid. The daughters’ views on their past represent two conflicting worlds; one world that accepts the past for what it is and the realities of her role in society, and another that does away with the inequalities and injustices of the past and creates a lost identity. It is through this major conflict that one is enlightened on the true meaning of inheritance. Even when you have the same parents, no two children are ever the same, but in this case Dee and Maggie are polar opposites. Their oppositions, along with help from their mother spark conflict between the two sisters. Dee is confident, secure, educated, and arrogant but seems to be forgetting the sacrifices of the past that got her to where she now is. Maggie, however, is shy, insecure, selfless, and green to the world outside of her home. Dee takes command of life. Maggie thought, “that ‘no’ is a word that the world would never learn to say to her.” (Walker, 1973, p.283) Her knowledge supersedes that of her mother and sister, and often times made them feel inferior to her. Her mother narrates, “[Dee] used to read to us without pity; forcing words, lies, other folks’ habits, whole lives upon us two, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice. She washed us in a river of make-believe, burned us with a lot of knowledge we didn’t necessarily need to know.” (Walker, 1973) Dee’s education and knowledge provides her with justification to belittle her family; however, her lack of appreciation for her mother and their past never stopped her mother from sending her to school. When Dee changes her name to “Wangero” she claims, “I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppressed me” (Walker, 1973)....
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