Imagery In Everyday Use By Alice Walker

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In "Everyday Use," the author Alice Walker tells the story of a mother and her two daughters' conflicting ideas about their identites and heritage. She demonstrates different sides of culture and heritage through the characters of Mama, Dee, and Maggie whom portray different opinions on the qualities and outlooks of life. The author uses the conflict to make the point that the make up of an object or of a person is more important than the looks. In Alice Walker's story "Everyday Use," she uses the following literary devices: characterization, symbolism, and imagery to portray her story of a mother, her two daughters', and conflicts with their heritage. The use of characterization in "Everyday Use" becomes visible at the very beginning. The …show more content…
Alice Walker relies on animal imagery to show the reader important qualties about each character. The narrator describes Maggie as a pathetic pooch, for instance, asking "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 who is ignorant enough to be kind to him? That is the way my Maggie walks"(2). Mamma also later describes that " Maggie's hand is as limp as a fish, and probably as cold, despite the sweat, and she keeps trying to pull it back" when Hakim-a-barber was trying to introduce himself to Maggie.Although the depictions of Maggie seem harsh coming from the narrator, which is her mother, it emphasizes that Maggie does not portray a lot of self worth and that her mother needs to set her on a path to make a change for her life. The narrator, Mrs. Johnson, gives the reader different animal imagery to describe Dee and Hakim-a-barber. She observes "[Dee's hair] stands straight up like the wool on a sheep. It is black as night and around the edges are two long pigtails that rope about like small lizards disappearing behind her ears" (3). In describing Hakim-a-barber, Mrs. Johnson says, "hair is all over his head a foot long and hanging from his chin like a kinky mule tail" (3). These images of Dee and Hakim-a-barber express that they have chosen to stand out from their normal culture and heritage. Walker

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