Preview
Preview

Essay on The Themes and Narration Techniques of Everyday Use by Alice Walker

No Works Cited
Length: 962 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Themes and Narration Techniques of "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker


"Everyday Use," by Alice Walker, was first published in 1973. The story opens as Maggie and her mother, a black farm woman, await a visit from Maggie's older sister, Dee, and a man who may be her husband--her mother is not sure whether they are actually married. Dee, who was always scornful of her family's way of life, has gone to college and now seems almost as distant as a film star. Maggie, who is not bright and who bears severe burn scars from a house fire many years before, is even more intimidated by her glamorous sibling. The central theme of the story concerns the way in which an individual--Dee--understands her present life in relation to the traditions of her people and culture, while the thematic richness of "Everyday Use" is made possible by the flexible, perceptive voice of the first-person narrator--Dee's mother.
The story focus on the way Dee sees the differences between her life and the lives of her mother and sister. Dee tells her mother and Maggie that they do not understand their "heritage," because they plan to put "priceless" heirloom quilts to "everyday use." The story makes clear that Dee is equally confused about the nature of her inheritance both from her immediate family and from the larger black tradition.
The matter of Dee's name provides a good example of this confusion. Evidently, Dee has chosen her new name ("Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo") to express solidarity with her African ancestors and to reject the oppression implied by the taking on of American names by black slaves. To her mother, the name "Dee" is symbolic of family unity, and is significant because it belongs to a particular beloved individual.
...


... middle of paper ...


... hung on the wall--summarizes the black woman's dilemma
about how to face the future. Can her life be seen as continuous with that of her ancestors? For Maggie, the answer is yes. Not only will she use the quilts, but also she will go on making more--she has learned the skill from Grandma Dee. While for Dee, the answer is no. She would frame the quilts and hang them on the wall, distancing them from her present life and aspirations; to put them to everyday use would be to admit her status as a member of her old-fashioned family.
Taken as a whole, while the story clearly endorses the commonsense perspective of Dee's mother over Dee's affectations, it does not disdain Dee's struggle to move beyond the limited world of her youth. Clearly, however, she has not yet arrived at a stage of self-understanding. Her mother and sister are ahead of her in that respect.


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Narration in Frankenstein and the Ancient Mariner Essay - Mary Shelley and Samuel Taylor Coleridge are two recognized writers of the Romantic era. The influence of Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere is reflected in Shelley’s Frankenstein in terms of narrative structure, literary techniques and themes. For example, both stories address the act of storytelling from the perspective of the listener as well as the teller. Furthermore, the narrations have a similar structure as narrative concerns. The story of Victor Frankenstein is told within a frame narration, as in The Ancient Mariner in which an anonymous third-person narrator recounts how an old sailor comes to tell a young wedding guest the story of his adventures at the sea....   [tags: Mary Shelley, Samuel Taylor] 908 words
(2.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on Film genre, narration, reality tv - Genres (Researched from “Film Art: An Introduction” by D. Bordwell and K. Thompson.) “Types of films are commonly referred to as genres (pronounced “zahn-rahz”). The word genre is originally French and simply means kind or type.” (Bordwell & Thompson, 2004: 108). Genre groups films, which share similar filmic qualities and themes, into various subsections according to the type of film they are associated as. Various film genres are recognisable by the way they are presented and patterned or the way that they portray a certain emotion or feeling, as those of humour or horror....   [tags: essays research papers fc]
:: 2 Works Cited
1677 words
(4.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro - The Remains of the Day is a fictional novel written by Kazuo Ishiguro. Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan in 1954 and moved with his family to England in 1960. The Remains of the Day contains several literary techniques such as tone, flashbacks, symbolism, and foreshadowing used to emphasize the core themes of dignity, regret, and loyalty. The Remains of the Day is a first person narrative of an English butler named Stevens on 6-day trip to the English countryside. Stevens could be considered as the “perfect” butler due to his serious personality, exemplary work ethic, and strong sense of loyalty....   [tags: Novel Themes, Protagonist's Conflict] 1009 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Similar Themes in The Krakne by Tennyson and Carroll´s Jabberwocky Essay examples - Tennyson and Carroll employ the same poetic techniques, such as third person narration, rhyme, manipulation of rhythm and meter, and descriptive language. However, each poet manipulates these techniques to represent their monsters as very different beasts. Both monsters are depicted, not through in-depth physical description, but through colourful imagery. Carroll gives some direct description, through metaphor, explaining that the Jabberwocky has "eyes of flame" (Carroll, in Muldoon, 1998, pp.135-136), but much of its nature is conveyed through action....   [tags: Poem, Monster]
:: 1 Works Cited
606 words
(1.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Use of Themes and Motifs in Macbeth Essay - Despite the fact that Macbeth was written a few hundred years ago, many of the themes and motifs used in the play are still considered effective literary devices in today’s world. Shakespeare uses his themes and motifs very effectively. First, Macbeth uses the theme of sleep very effectively in many scenes of the play. Second, Shakespeare uses the clothing and garden motifs, which are two very powerful motifs to reinforce our visualization and understanding of parts of the play. Lastly, the main theme of the play, “fair is foul and foul is fair” is seen constantly throughout the play....   [tags: Literary Themes] 987 words
(2.8 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Use of Mnemonic Techniques Essay - Most people have seen movies or read books or at least heard of the famous Arthur Conan Doyles Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christies Hercules Poirot and stood fascinated by their intellect and their stories in general. I suppose by that example was created “Mentalist” – also a detective series with lead character Patrick Jane, also a man with a great mind and intellect which leaves you with a question mark above your head. How. Aside from their excellent deductive and inductive skills as well as intuition, their ability to extract important, along with unimportant information from their “mind palace”, as Sherlock Holmes calls it, it’s rather fascinating....   [tags: Mnemonic techniques]
:: 3 Works Cited
869 words
(2.5 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay Techniques for Successful Stories - When writing fictional stories authors often use a variety of writing strategies such as a theme, point of view of the narrator, and symbols to effectively communicate their personal ideas throughout their stories. These various techniques are believed to make writers work successful and without them, their stories would be incomplete. Without a main idea or underlying meaning of the literary work, also known as the theme, there would be no true meaning to a story (Dixson). A theme is the main purpose and is what makes a true story successful....   [tags: Fiction, Themes, Symbolism, Perspective]
:: 7 Works Cited
1838 words
(5.3 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Essay on First-Person Narration Techniques in "Cathedral" - A first-person narration provides an interesting perspective on the main action of a story. A narrator can express his/her own thoughts and feelings, which in turn develops a more personal and relatable story to the reader. Raymond Carver often uses this literary point-of-view tactic in his short stories to reveal the traits of the narrator. In "Cathedral," Carver uses conversational tone and diction to reveal the narrator's character; which is prejudicial at first, but becomes empathic by the end....   [tags: American Literature] 996 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Use of Techniques in The Mummy Essay example - The Use of Techniques in The Mummy In the extract from ‘The Mummy’, a wide range of techniques are employed in order to convey certain aspects to the audience. The ways in which the camera is used have great effect on the impression given; for example the minimal movement, including slow pans, in order to not detract from the impressive nature of the exotic location – a staple for films of the action/adventure genre. The vastness of the desert is also emphasized by the use of wide shots, in which the screen is filled by the sandstorm and the heroes’ plane appears greatly vulnerable; this also makes use of another genre convention – the powerful odds which must be...   [tags: Papers] 651 words
(1.9 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
The Use of First Person Narration in The Cask of Amontillado Essay - The Use of First Person Narration in The Cask of Amontillado Edgar Allen Poe’s tale of murder and revenge, “The Cask of Amontillado”, offers a unique perspective into the mind of a deranged murderer. The effectiveness of the story is largely due to its first person point of view, which allows the reader a deeper involvement into the thoughts and motivations of the protagonist, Montresor. The first person narration results in an unbalanced viewpoint on the central conflict of the story, man versus man, because the reader knows very little about the thoughts of the antagonist, Fortunato....   [tags: Edgar Allen Poe Perspective Point of View] 840 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]