March 21, 2011
Short Story Reaction Paper
Everyday Use, a short story written by Alice Walker, brings the reader into the lives of a mother and her two daughters. The daughters grew up in the same home but had two very different paths. Mama and the church raised money for Dee to attend school in Augusta and Maggie stayed home. Although Dee went on to further her education in Augusta, Maggie learned other valuable life skills from Mama, her Aunt, and her grandmother. These differences growing up give both Maggie and Dee different views of where they came from, where they are now, and the direction of their future. The story begins with Mama and Maggie waiting for Dee to arrive. Dee has made it and Mama describes what seeing each other may be like when someone who has “made it” returns home. This dream she describes is something from a movie, reuniting on Johnny Carson and Dee acting so appreciative of everything her mother has done for her. In a dream, Mama is who Dee wants her to be. Mama describes the mother Dee would want as slimmer and lighter skinned. In reality, she is the same person she has always been. She had only a second grade education. Mama is a big boned woman with hands like a man and who is content with her life. Although times have changed you get the sense that she still lives in the past. For example when she talks about the dream of reuniting with her daughter on Johnny Carson. Mama goes on to say that she would not be looking a white man in the eye. Despite the new rights for African Americans, she says that she “has always talked to them with one foot raised in flight, with my head turned in whatever direction is farthest form them” (Barnet, Burto, & Cain, 2011, p. 1088). Although Mama comes across as a strong woman, she seems to still have that slave mentality with this comment. Mama thinks Dee is better, perhaps even better than herself. She says Dee has...