Use Essay, Research Paper

The Theme and Narration Technique of & # 8220 ; Everyday Use & # 8221 ;

& # 8220 ; Everyday Use, & # 8221 ; by Alice Walker, was foremost published in 1973. The narrative opens as Maggie and her female parent, a black farm adult female, await a visit from Maggie & # 8217 ; s older sister, Dee, and a adult male who may be her hubby & # 8211 ; her female parent is non certain whether they are really married. Dee, who was ever contemptuous of her household & # 8217 ; s manner of life, has gone to college and now seems about every bit distant as a movie star. Maggie, who is non bright and who bears terrible burn cicatrixs from a house fire many old ages before, is even more intimidated by her glamourous sibling. The cardinal subject of the narrative concerns the manner in which an person & # 8211 ; Dee & # 8211 ; understands her present life in relation to the traditions of her people and civilization, while the thematic profusion of & # 8220 ; Everyday Use & # 8221 ; is made possible by the flexible, perceptive voice of the first-person storyteller & # 8211 ; Dee & # 8217 ; s female parent.

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The narrative focal point on the manner Dee sees the differences between her life and the lives of her female parent and sister. Dee tells her female parent and Maggie that they do non understand their & # 8220 ; heritage, & # 8221 ; because they plan to set & # 8220 ; priceless & # 8221 ; heirloom comforters to & # 8220 ; everyday use. & # 8221 ; The narrative makes clear that Dee is every bit baffled about the nature of her heritage both from her immediate household and from the larger black tradition.

The affair of Dee & # 8217 ; s name provides a good illustration of this confusion. Obviously, Dee has chosen her new name ( & # 8221 ; Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo & # 8221 ; ) to show solidarity with her African ascendants and to reject the subjugation implied by the taking on of American names by black slaves. To her female parent, the name & # 8220 ; Dee & # 8221 ; is symbolic of household integrity, and is important because it belongs to a peculiar beloved single.

Dee & # 8217 ; s confusion about the significance of her heritage besides emerges in her attitude toward the comforters and other family points. While she now rejects the names of her immediate ascendants, she thirstily values their old handmade goods, such as the hand-carved benches made for the tabular array when the household could non afford to purchase chairs. To Dee, artifacts such as the benches or the comforters are purely aesthetic objects. It ne’er occurs to her that they, excessively, are symbols of subjugation & # 8211 ; her household made these things because they could non afford to purchase them. Her esteem for them now seems to reflect a cultural tendency toward valuing hand-crafted objects, instead than any sincere involvement in her & # 8220 ; heritage. & # 8221 ; After all, when she was offered a comforter before she went off to college, she rejected it as & # 8220 ; antique, out of style. & # 8221 ;

Dee is non the lone one confused about the heritage of the black adult female in the rural South. Although the female parent and Maggie are disbelieving of Dee, they recognize the restrictions of their ain lives. The female parent has merely a second-grade erectile dysfunction

ucation and admits that she can non conceive of looking a unusual white adult male in the oculus. Maggie “knows she is non bright” and walks with a askance shuffling. Although their temperaments lead them to do the best of their lives, they admire Dee’s fierce pride even as they feel the force of her contempt.

It is the female parent & # 8217 ; s point of position which permits the reader & # 8217 ; s apprehension of both Dee and Maggie. Both immature adult females might look stereotyped & # 8211 ; one a smart but pitiless college miss, the other a sweet but ineffective stay-at-home. The female parent & # 8217 ; s attending to inside informations saves Dee and Maggie, as characters, from platitude.

For illustration, Maggie & # 8217 ; s shyness is explained in footings of the awful fire she survived: & # 8220 ; Sometimes I can still hear the fires and experience Maggie & # 8217 ; s weaponries lodging to me, her hair smoke and her frock falling off her in small black papery flakes. Her eyes seemed stretched unfastened, blazed unfastened by the fires reflected in them. & # 8221 ; Ever since, & # 8220 ; she has been like this, mentum on thorax, eyes on land, pess in shuffle. & # 8221 ; In Dee & # 8217 ; s instance, the reader learns

that, as she was turning up, the high demands she made of others tended to drive people off. She had few friends, and her one fellow & # 8220 ; flew to get married a inexpensive metropolis miss from a household of nescient brassy people & # 8221 ; after Dee & # 8220 ; turned all her faultfinding power on him. & # 8221 ; Her thrust for a better life has cost Dee in a heartfelt way, and her female parent & # 8217 ; s commentary reveals that Dee, excessively, has cicatrixs, though they are less seeable than Maggie & # 8217 ; s.

In add-on to the usage of point of position, & # 8220 ; Everyday Use & # 8221 ; is enriched by Alice Walker & # 8217 ; s development of symbols. In peculiar, the contested comforters become symbolic of the narrative & # 8217 ; s subject ; in a sense, they represent the yesteryear of the adult females in the household. Worked on by two coevalss, they contain spots of cloth from even earlier epochs, including a bit of a Civil War unvarying worn by Great Grandpa Ezra. The argument over how the comforters should be treated & # 8211 ; used or hung on the wall & # 8211 ; summarizes the black adult female & # 8217 ; s dilemma

about how to confront the hereafter. Can her life be seen as uninterrupted with that of her ascendants? For Maggie, the reply is yes. Not merely will she utilize the comforters, but besides she will travel on doing more & # 8211 ; she has learned the accomplishment from Grandma Dee. While for Dee, the reply is no. She would border the comforters and hang them on the wall, distancing them from her present life and aspirations ; to set them to mundane usage would be to acknowledge her position as a member of her antique household.

Taken as a whole, while the narrative clearly endorses the commonsensible position of Dee & # 8217 ; s female parent over Dee & # 8217 ; s mannerisms, it does non contemn Dee & # 8217 ; s battle to travel beyond the limited universe of her young person. Clearly, nevertheless, she has non yet arrived at a phase of self-understanding. Her female parent and sister are in front of her in that regard.

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