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Everyday Use by Alice Walker - Research Paper Example

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“Everyday Use” by Alice Walker When there is a clash of ideas and cultures because of the distances between family members it is often observed that the family takes time to get used to the individual’s perception towards life which has been colored with the outside world…
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Everyday Use by Alice Walker

Download file to see previous pages... Alice Walker, the author of this story is considered to be a highly acclaimed writer of the contemporary black women lives. Walker reflects upon the Southern life of Black people as a result of white oppression, need for self-respect and for their survival (Hedges & Wendt 25). For Dee the blacks’ world is a more optimistic and Americanized version which compels her to change her name from Dee to Wangero to represent her African identity. There is a twist in the tale when the readers learn that this was not Mama’s intention. She merely wanted her to gain excellent education and keep her away from her younger child Maggie whom she felt would not be able to cope with Dee because of an earlier accident which physically damaged Maggie. As Dee returns home on vacation she brings with her a boyfriend who has a Muslim origin who does not eat pork. His name is Hakim which Mama fails to pronounce well. Dee is fascinated with her home’s interior as well as the outlook as she admires the preserving of heritage to Mama’s great surprise because at first she was least inclined towards such minor details. Dee and Maggie are shown contrasting with each other in many ways. While Maggie is shy, Dee is bold and outspoken. Maggie is ashamed of her scars that she got from house fire. Being always at home near Mama, Maggie learnt the worth of African American heritage. ...
She wishes to keep the quilt which disturbs Maggie and infuriates Mama (Whitsitt 445). However when Maggie insists that Dee keep the quilt Mama takes it away from her and returns it to Maggie. For Dee this is the most conservative outlook towards life and this can be understood when she says: ““But they're priceless!" she was saying now, furiously; for she has a temper. "Maggie would put them on the bed and in five years they'd be in rags. Less than that!”” (Walker 2009) For Mama this is altogether a strange experience seeing Dee talk about heritage and family values the way she does now. She strongly regrets sending Dee away for education because she believes it has shattered the family ties. She is much satisfied to keep Maggie at home because she has at least received the traditional upbringing with black community’s values deep ingrained. The quilt is a controversial figure in the story because its very existence is considered to be literal by many critics while Walker might have a different purpose in mind. She may be drawing an analogy between storytelling and quilting. “Quilt is a trope whose analogue (the quilt itself) provides the stitch that untropes the trope; it is a trope stitched to a reality...” (Whitsitt 447). The tightness of the stitching is indicative of the fact that the community or an individual is strongly and tightly knitted. Walker explores the “limits of art and the authentic” as she narrates the relationship between Mama, Maggie and Dee. According to critics, Dee is not only narrated out of the story but also from the sisterhood which is observed between Mama and Maggie. This, however, shuts the other possibility of keeping Dee in play. There is a sense of longing at the beginning of the story which reminds the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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