Alice Walker born in 1944 lived in a critical era of civil rights for blacks in
In “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, the narrator, Mama, describes her life with her daughter Maggie and their awaiting homecoming of her oldest daughter Dee who left town to pursue her education. When Dee arrives, she dresses in a brightly colored, orange and yellow ankle dress, these colors indicate a sign of change is approaching. Dee also states how she has renamed herself to “Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo” and that the Dee they knew is dead. Wangero (Dee) is persuaded that the name “Dee” was given to her by white oppressors, therefore her new name provides her with a new sense of identity and tradition – leaving behind the life she was born into. However, Wangero’s reasoning behind her name change is culturally incorrect, Mama traces the family history of her name and proves Wangero wrong. This also continues throughout the story as Wangero treats their tradition as a set of artifacts, regarding the house to be something to photograph and objects within the house as art centerpieces
Many authors use the themes oppression and victory to define a struggle. This technique allows readers to relate with characters on a personal level. Alice Walker constantly uses this theme in her short story “Everyday Use” with her character Maggie and in her book The Color Purple with her character Celie. Both tales depict these women as underdogs who overcome obstacles to realize her full potential at the end.
Women have battled for centuries to be equivalent to men. In “The Color Purple," Alice Walker illustrates the theme of women’s heartache, racist acts, and complications of a day to day woman. The Color Purple took place during a demeaning era to not only African American women but African Americans in general were treated inhumane. African American women submitted themselves to controlling men due to the belief of that’s how it should be. During this time, women were used for manual and sexual labor. They were referred as one’s property, hardly spoken of or treated like human-beings. Women faced lack of self-love and identity therefore the definition of love was clouded.
It is imperative to understand that these heirlooms are mere representation of heirlooms designed for everyday use. It is ironic that Dee changes her name, and wants to take the dasher to show off in her home as part of her heritage when she is trying so hard to distance herself from her past. She does not understand that she is taking away an item used every day by her mother. She is convinced that Maggie does not deserve the quilt, because she would merely put it to everyday use. Mama cannot fathom the reason behind Dee’s desire to possess the quilt when it is obvious she sees it as an artifact. The relationship between Mama and Maggie is different from hers and Dee’s and is evident in the way the use of the family heirloom is viewed; while the former would care for and preserve the heirloom, the latter would only hang it as a piece of art, to be discarded when they get old or new ones are
... as well. The first glimpse of "Everyday Use" may suggest that Dee surpasses her mother and sister in value, but closer scrutiny of the work reveals that the mother and Maggie have just as much, if not more, merit than Dee.
Walker brought most of the horrific and even sickening scenes of the book to life, with the help and influence of society in history. One of the greatest influences to have an effect on Walker's style of writing and especially The Color Purple, were instances from slavery and prejudice. The whites owned and empowered America during the time of slavery. They had no respect for any other race, which they thought of as substandard. As Lean'tin Bracks stated, blacks were considered to be racially inferior, and they were used for the exploitation of the white culture. The whites used the black people as animals, and made them do their every bidding. Blacks and whites were separated form each other and this segregation of the two races barred blacks from legal and economic access, and they were put to punishment by the white culture. Interaction between the two races rarely occurred other than specific affairs or whites intruding on blacks. There were no penalties to pay by whites, therefore intrusions were common, and they took advantage of the African-Americans. The intrusions varied from breaking and entering to rape and murder for no apparent reason (84). Walker used this basis of racism to grip the reader and take them through a story of a women, who survives physical, verbal, and emotional abuse, everyday.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker is a story written in 1982 that is about the life struggles of a young African American woman named Celie. The novel takes the reader through several main topics including the poor treatment of African American women, domestic abuse, family relationships, and also religion. The story takes place mostly in rural Georgia in the early 1900’s and demonstrates the difficult life of sharecropper families. Specifically how life was endured from the perspective of an African American woman. The Color Purple is written in the form of letters that Celie narrates explaining the events that took place at certain points in her life. Celie endures physical and emotional abuse by some of the people around her including her own family. But in the end Celie finds a new and fulfilling life through relationships with her sister and good friends.
Alice Walker was born on February 9th 1944 and was born in Eatonton GA. She is the author of the novel, The Color Purple and was an American author, poet and self-activist. Also Alice Malsenior Walker is still living today and is currently 69 years old. Alice Walker was married to Melvin Leventhal and they were married to each other in 1967 and separated in 1977. Walker was the youngest in her family held with eight children and her parents were Tallulah Grant and Willie Lee Walker, who were sharecroppers. Then in 1961 Alice Walker left Eatonton for Spelman college, a prominent school for black women in Atlanta, on a state scholarship (Biography of Alice Walker). Furthermore she then transferred to Sarah Lawrence College in New York, and studied the involvement in civil rights.
An author known for her womanist writing, Alice Walker writes stories on relationships between women and the rights of African Americans. Born in Georgia in 1944, Alice Walker knew of the economic oppression and domination of her race at an early age but despite these struggles, Alice was a witty and pretty child. However at the age of eight, a mishap with a BB gun left her scarred, blind in one eye, and emotional unstabled. According to Alice, this accident traumatically affected the way she saw and thought of herself bringing her to have thoughts of suicide. Walker was able to remove the scar tissue six years after the accident, and her partial blindness allowed her a scholarship to Spelman College (1+2). After two years of Spelman College and many hours of civil rights activism, she left to Sarah Lawrence College and graduated in 1965 (1). She continued to be an activist for civil rights, while working, writing, and having a family of her own. In 1983, Alice won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Color Purple, and used her success to help writers, schools, and woman around the world. “The survival, the survival whole of my people. (LEAD IN) But beyond hat I am committed to exploring the oppressions, the insanities, the loyalties, and the triumphs of black women” (1).
In Alice Walker’s Short story “Everyday Use” a mother is conflicted between her two daughters and the families quilt. Maggie is uneducated and financial unstable, and Dee is a well-educated woman that’s embarrassed of her family. Each believing they are entitled to family inheritance. The story characterize heritage and how heritage is portaged differently between the two sister. The main characters in this story, "Mama" and Maggie are on one side, and Dee on the other, each have opposing views on the value and worth of the various items in their lives, this conflict makes the point that the substance of an object is more important than style.
Alice Walker's "Everyday Use," explores Dee and Maggie's opposing views about their heritage by conveying symbolism through their actions. Maggie is reminded of her heritage throughout everyday life. Her daily chores consist of churning milk, helping mama skin hogs on the bench which is the same table her ancestors built, and working in the pasture. On the other hand, Dee moved to the city where she attends college. It is obvious throughout the story; Dee does not appreciate her heritage. When Dee comes back to visit Mama and Maggie she announces that she has changed her name to Wangero. Dee states "I couldn't bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me" (89). Her stopping the tradition of the name Dee, which goes back as far as mama can remember, tells the reader that Dee does not value her heritage. Another symbolism of her lack of appreciation for her heritage demonstrated through her actions is when Dee asks Mama if she can have the churn top to use it as a ce...
Like most peoples families there is a dynamic of people involved, although all from the same environment and teachings, it is ultimately an accumulation of personal experiences that shape us and defines how we perceive our existence. “Everyday Use” is a story of conflict of right and wrong and also family values. Walkers’ narrator, “Mama”, struggles with her disrespectful daughter ‘Dee”. Though “Mama” was quoted to have worked hard like a man to send her to school gratitude is never mentioned. “Clearly, Dee privileges language over silence, as she demonstrates in her determination to be educated and in the importance she places on her name” (Tuten). Since “Dee” had been out of the house and to school in the city she had lost touch with where she came from and had little respect for the family heritage. Maggie having been burned in a house fire had learned to love the shelter that only a family can provide. Being burned makes you like no one else, everywhere you go you feel eyes looking. Since she had not been out of the house and had the time to learn the value of family she regarded the quilts as a part of her heritage.