Every Day Use

Topics: Short story, Johnny Carson, Everyday Use Pages: 2 (592 words) Published: November 27, 2006
While reading the short story "Everyday Use" written by Alice Walker, shallow and selfish come to mind as the story describes the oldest sister, Dee. Critics will argue on how selfish she really is though. According to Nancy Tuten, author of "Alice Walker's Everyday Use," Dee, the oldest sister, has grown accustom to getting her way and not sure how to act when she is told NO. Where Susan Farrell says in her article, "Fight vs. Flight: A Re-evaluation of Dee in Alice Walker's Everyday use," Dee is not as selfish as most people believe. Susan Farrell still says that Dee is selfish, but to a point, the rest is her view of her heritage and new way of copping with the oppressed society that they live in.

"Clearly, Dee privileges language over silence," (Nancy Tuten). This is shown by how she tries to educate her younger sister, Maggie, and her mother, known only as Mama. Yet according to Nancy Tuten, Dee's knowledge gave her the power to educate her family, but instead it is used to separate herself from them, the uneducated ones. Where Dee used this to "shove us away…like dimwits," (Walker). Susan Farrell will state that Dee's intentions are in the right place and she is just trying to educate her family. Farrell says that remembering that Mama is telling this story and her views on her daughter's intentions could be off a little. Meaning that Dee was trying to educate her family and keep them from being oppressed by the system.

One must keep in mind that this story is told by Mama and because of that she is the one with the last word, having control over the story. We really do not know what Dee's feelings and thoughts are toward her family; we just have to take Mama's word for it. While Susan Farrell mentions that while we read about her mothers daydream involving Johnny Carson and hear how Mama thinks Dee would like her family to look like and act. We have to keep in mind that we truly do not know if this is how Dee would like the family to...
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