Theme

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Eddie Truong
Prof. Gray
English 28
11 March 2013
Finding The Theme
Many stories around the world have a wide variety of theme and issues that are not easily identified. Throughout stories, authors like to describe the characterization of character rather than the plot. The reason authors don’t describe the plot of the story is because through the characterization of the characters, readers are able to distinguish the different issues the author has planted in the story. Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” is a short story that explores the way some people tend to view their family heritage and culture. Even though the title of the story does not give a sense of genre, it is actually a drama story because it has conflicts between different people. This story begins when Mama and Maggie are waiting at their front yard for the arrival of their daughter/sister. When Dee, the sister arrives, she informs her family that she has thrown away her name for another name. When they all get into the house, Dee asks her mom for valuables that were left behind by their past relatives. At first Mama agrees to give it to her, but refuses later because Mama felt that Dee would not carry the important heritage of the family tradition. Dee, who is outraged at this point, runs out of the house and left saying that they do not understand the real importance of their culture. In the story, “Everyday Use” uses direct and indirect characterization through Mama, Maggie, and Dee to elucidate the theme of personal belief some people have for their family heritage.

One way the theme becomes clearer to the readers is through the indirect characterization of Mama. Indirect characterization is shown throughout the story to show the traits of the characters by what they say and what they do. The readers are able to have a sense of who the character is by indirect characterization. For example, “A yard like this is more comfortable then most people know. It is not just a yard. It is like...
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