Culture in Alice Walker’s Short Story "Everyday Use"

analytical Essay
619 words
619 words

Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” is a thought provoking short story that teaches the importance of preserving heritage. The story surrounds an argument between a southern traditional mother (Mrs. Johnson) and her eldest daughter (Dee/Wangero), over Dee’s lack of respect, knowledge and selfish behavior regarding her family’s heritage. Mrs. Johnson has two daughters (Maggie and Dee) who have two completely different views of the world and different lifestyles. In the story two quilts are used to symbolize the importance of the family’s culture. A family feud begins when the three women argue over who should receive the quilts. Although Maggie and Dee have experienced the same upbringing, and were raised the same household, they are two complete foils of each other. Dee is the bold, witty, shrewd, fashion forward and confident college graduate; Maggie is the timid, reserved, and self-conscience sister who is unsuccessful. Dee, the eldest daughter, is described as being the more attractive and admirable sister by saying "She is lighter than Maggie with nicer hair and a full figure." Maggi...

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how alice walker's "everyday use" is a thought-provoking short story that teaches the importance of preserving heritage.
  • Analyzes how walker's choice of words to describe the 3 characters early on in the story gives an idea of how the three women will interact when they meet up.
  • Analyzes how walker used two objects/places in "everyday use" to add a hidden meaning to her point about heritage.
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