Everyday Use Analysis

Topics: Family, First-person narrative, Meaning of life Pages: 2 (864 words) Published: October 23, 2005
"Everyday Use" by Alice Walker does an excellent job showing how one's family can determine how one acts and feels about themselves. Walker uses first person point of view to describe how one person can change so many lives. In the story Mama has two daughters, Maggie and Dee. Maggie still lives at home with her mother while Dee has moved out and gone to college. From the very first sentence, "I will wait for her in the yard that Maggie and I made so clean and wavy yesterday afternoon"(92) the reader can tell that Mama is proud of how she lives and how she brought up her daughters. Mama is very nervous about Dee coming to visit and has done things to try and make her house look good before Dee gets there. She states "I will wait for her in the yard that Maggie and I made so clean and wavy yesterday afternoon."(92) Mama wants everything to be perfect when she arrives, it is as if Mama needs her approval of the house and everything she has done before she can go on with her life. Mama is the judge of the story and we can only really see what she is like through her thoughts and words about everyone else. She describes Maggie as "chin on chest, eyes on ground, feet in shuffle, ever since the fire that burned the other house to the ground."(94) Maggie is the character that the reader feels sympathetic for. Once her sister arrives, Mama states that she will "stand hopelessly in corners, homely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs, eying her sister with a mixture of envy and awe."(92) Maggie looks up to Dee, it's as if Dee is a celebrity. Maggie is the complete opposite of Dee though; everything that Maggie has gotten in life she has had to work for. She learned how to quilt from her grandmother and she helped her mother cook and clean the old house. Maggie also does not speak very often; you can see this when Dee's companion tries to have a conversation with her but all that Maggie says is "Uhnnnh". Once Dee arrives the reader gets a good...
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