ENGLISH 102 DIAGNOSTIC ESSAY
ON ALICE WALKER’S “EVERYDAY USE”
Write an essay of approximately 750 words on “Everyday Use (For Your Grandmother,” by Alice Walker, in which you discuss the theme of the story, how the characters relate to or embody the theme, and the significance of the man-made objects (especially the quilt) to the theme. The theme of a story is similar to the thesis in an essay except that it is usually not stated explicitly; it is often implied and deals with a universal issue that the narrative explores through the use of specific events and characters. The theme is almost always more ambiguous than the other literary techniques. As with any essay, there should be a clear introduction, body, and conclusion; it should also be written in the third person, that is, eliminate the “I think,” “In my opinion,” etc. Your primary source is the short story itself, which is available on Blackboard. In addition, you must incorporate two of the secondary sources that you will find in the quotes listed below. Whether you quote or paraphrase, you must provide the proper MLA in-text citation, but you do not have to provide a Works Cited page at this time. Remember, these sources are to help support your argument/interpretation, not make the argument for you.
“‘. . . I really see that story as almost about one person, the old woman and two daughters being one person. The one who stays and sustains—this is the older woman—who has on the one hand a daughter who is the same way, who stays and abides and loves, plus the part of them—this autonomous person, the part of them that also wants to go out into the world to see change and be changed . . . .’” Statement by Alice Walker in an interview quoted by Mary Helen Washington in her “An Essay on Alice Walker,” on pages 101-102, and published in the book, Alice Walker, “Everyday Use,” edited by Barbara T. Christian, in the series Women Writers: Texts and Contexts, published by Rutgers...
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