The character of Mama in the short story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker perseveres through
tough times and makes the most of what she has. She is a woman that tells things how they are, nothing
but the plain truth. She can be humorous at times and tough at others. She is self-described as “a large,
big boned, woman with rough, man-working hands. ” Growing up poor, Mama had to work hard to
raise her family. She could kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man could, work outside in the bitter
cold, breaking ice for water for washing, and she could even kill a pig with a sledge hammer and have
the meat hung before nightfall. She could do it all, with the exception of raising her daughters while
fully understanding them. Mama had a tough time disciplining her daughters fairly.
Mama gradually rejects the superficial values of her older, successful daughter in favor
of the practical values of her younger, less fortunate daughter. In this story many conflicts come about
between the two daughters and Mama has a tough time dealing with them. The main conflict of the
story was the controversy over who should rightfully own the quilts.
The quilts were a symbol of their African-American Heritage, these quilts meant a lot to their
Entire family, everybody wanted them. In the end of the story when Maggie and Dee are
Fighting over the quilts, Mama watches closely, trying to find a resolution to the conflict.
Soon Mama looks hard at a Maggie and sees something in her she has not seen before.
An appreciation for her heritage, Maggie didn’t want to lose the only symbol of her
African-American heritage that she had left. Mama then knew that Maggie was the
the rightful owner of the quilts and told Dee that she was giving them to Maggie.
Mama may of had trouble with resolving conflicts between her daughters in the past,
but this time she finally got it right. [continues]
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