Alice Walker's Everyday Use

Topics: Family, Mother, Woman Pages: 3 (578 words) Published: October 14, 2015


In Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use,” Mama, the narrator of the story, is rather distant with her daughter Dee and dreams about reconciling with her on a television show. Specifically, she imagines Dee expressing gratitude for all that she has done for her, while embracing her (Mama) “with tears in her eyes (Walker 315).” It is obvious that Mama doesn’t understand her daughter’s life choice to adopt an African lifestyle and feels that Dee is rejecting her origins and family. Furthermore, the reader can see that Mama has a troublesome relationship with Dee by the amount of tension between them. This strained relationship becomes clear when Dee “went to the trunk at the foot of (Mama’s) bed and started rifling through it (Walker 320).” The narrator...

The mother in the story definitely can be seen as overbearing, as she doesn’t allow her daughter many opportunities to state her thoughts or opinions. The article, “Walker’s Everyday Use” by John Gruesser makes an interesting revelation about Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use.” Gruesser begins his article by noting that there are multiple “images of animals and references to animal husbandry” that are contained in Walker’s story (Gruesser 183). He proceeds to discuss some of the specific references within the story and explains how each of the main characters have animal characteristics. For example, he notes that mama is referred to as “a large, big boned woman” and Maggie is often described as being a doctile and frightened “animal” (Gruesser 184). He goes on to review Mama’s distinct comparisons between animals and her daughter Maggie and remarks that they “often seem insensitive” to the reader. The most shocking example, Gruesser claims, is in the following sentence: “Have you ever seen a lame animal, perhaps a dog run over by some careless person rich enough to own a car, sidle up to someone ignorant enough to be kind him? That is how my Maggie walks (Gruesser 184).” Gruesser concludes his review and criticism of Walker’s story by acknowledging that “it is perfectly appropriate that animal imagery should figure in ‘Everyday Use (Gruesser 185).’” Additionally, he claims that the animal imagery makes even more sense because the narrator supports herself by raising...
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