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Point of View in Alice Walker's Everyday Use

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Length: 1143 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)
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Point of View in Alice Walker's Everyday Use

Alice Walker is making a statement about the popularization of black
culture in "Everyday Use". The story involves characters from both sides of the
African American cultural spectrum, conveniently cast as sisters in
the story. Dee/Wangero represents the "new black," with her natural
hairdo and brightly colored clothing. Maggie remains traditional: the
unchanged, unaffected bystander. Nowhere in the dialogue do Walker's
characters directly mention their feelings about the Americanization
of African tradition. But Walker somehow gets the reader to believe
this popularization itself can actually turn into a form of exploitation.
By telling the story from the mother's point of view, Walker's representation
of Wangero is seeped in irony, and therefore Wangero's love of her African
heritage becomes an exploitation of it.

Because the mother is so closely related to the characters in the
story, her perception of them is biased. Walker uses this point of
view to her advantage, because while the reader i...


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responsibility to understand the real theme imbedded in the story.

In the same way that the reader dislikes Wangero in "Everyday Use,"
so Alice Walker seems to dislike the type of black American who uses
his or her cultural identity as a status symbol. It is not a hatred
that Walker displays in her story, but rather a playful poking-fun-of,
which wouldn't have been possible had "Everyday Use" not been told
from the perspective of the mother. This is exactly how the point of
view affected the theme of "Everyday Use".

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