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The Theme in Everyday Use - Essay Example

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Name: Title: Course: Tutor: Date: The Theme in ‘Everyday Use’ ‘Everyday Use’ is a short story with its setting in the rural side of American south where an African-American mother, Mama has conflicting relationship with Dee and Maggie, her two daughters…
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The Theme in Everyday Use

Download file to see previous pages... But the author of this short story, Walker, appreciates that Africa-Americanism is a component of both African and American and denying the American perspective of one’s heritage amounts to disrespecting one’s ancestors. The theme in this short story is propagated with the return of Dee, the educated member of the family, together with her male companion to their home to meet her mother and Maggie, deeply rooted in the African culture. Walker uses characterization appropriately, upholds the African heritage and supports the argument that heritage is part of everyday human life. She therefore uses Mama, Maggie and Dee as the principal characters in propagating the main theme: in everyday life, there is harmony and conflict in Africa-American culture. In the beginning, Walker, the author and narrator, later to be identified as Mrs. Johnson or Mama narrates in first person how they were waiting in the yard with Maggie, her daughter. Whitsitt (447) symbolically views this as a wait for their redemption from lack of education due to being enclosed in their rural surrounding for a long time, with the use of first person making the readers feel like they have to be with the narrator. She moves from describing the yard to talk of how Maggie would be nervous with her sister coming home because of her burn scars. She definitely feels inferior to Dee, her sister who had opportunities in life unlike Maggie. The narrator contrasts these sisters by describing Dee as a guest in a TV show, a sign of her glamour. The narrator describes her dream being congratulated in a TV show in which she appears with her daughter for raising a fine girl like her. This moves from a dream to reality where the narrator portrays this Mama with masculine attributes which sharply contrasts the glittering representation on the TV show hosted by Johnny Carson in a dress with a flower. ‘Everyday Use’ contrasts the lifestyle in urban and rural paradigms to propagate its main theme. Mama points out that the daughter does not appreciate her as what she would like to be – “a hundred pound lighter, skin like an uncooked barley pancake” and have a “witty tongue” (Walker 89). The plot indicates a switched perspective where Maggie came out asking how she looked in red blouse and pink skirt. It would be appreciated that all main characters change in the story which indicates the use of change by Walker to support her theme in the story. In spite of Maggie trying to make herself presentable, the narrator compares her to a lame animal, “perhaps a dog run over by some careless person rich enough to own a car” (Walker 89). But she admits that she has a better figure and is lighter than Dee, reminding her of how she got saved from their burning house twelve years ago. Therefore, the plot of this short story gives a clear indication of the tension between the family and Dee because this elder daughter had acquired outside education. This detaches her from the normal usefulness which revolved around the house and land and appreciates education more together with ethereal usefulness. She describes her daughter, Maggie as shy and rather unattractive with scarred soul. Lovingly, she admits that “like good looks and money, quickness passed her by” (Walker 73). In spite of her stumbling as she reads, Mama still considers her a sweet person whom she can sing with in church. Maggie is content with their traditions and honors her ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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