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Direct Characterization In Everyday Use By Alice Walker

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Characterization is considered to be a literary element of art. Analyzing characterization is the key to finding a fiction story theme. Characterization is made known through direct and indirect characterization. Direct characterization tells the personality or traits of the character, while indirect characterization presents the character by their actions. Alice Walker “Everyday Use” is a short story that reveals the theme through characterization. This technique is used by exposing the characters values, heritage, and insecurities. The literary subgenre of “Everyday Use” is realistic fiction. This story focuses its writing and plot around the values of a rural family. Walker’ story is about two sisters and a mother who live in a rural section…show more content…
The daughter pursued an education and a college career and found her way into a different social class. In the midst of her pursuing her goals she went through an identity change, and changed her name to keep up with her African heritage. One day, she decides to visit her mother and her sister. Before she left she went through her mother’s trunk and started searching for valuable items. The daughter finds two pairs of quilts tell the great significance those quilts have because they had been quilted by her grandmother, her aunt, and her mother. In the end of the story she tells her mother she wants them, but not the one with any machine stitching. The mother finds out her daughter only wants the quilts for display and not for bedding as they are meant to be used for. She decides to give them to her youngest daughter who will use them for herself, not as a pretense of displaying heritage. Alice Walker story exposes the theme of heritage. Throughout the story Walker uses indirect characterization to describe Dee, and direct characterization to describe Maggie and Mama, in order to reveal the different ways that people embrace…show more content…
Even though Mama describes herself as a person that lacks education and knowledge she honors her heritage in her own way. This is exposed to the reader when Mama questions Dee why changed her name to “Wangero” and explains to her the significance of her name “You know as well as me that you was named after your aunt Dicie” (Walker 98). This shows that Mama values her heritage by naming her daughter Dee, a name that has been passed down by her ancestors. Throughout the story Mama tells the reader the significance behind the value of each object. For example she explains to her daughter Dee the meaning behind the quilts she wants to take with her. Walker explains this by telling the reader Mama’s significance regarding the quilts “Some of the pieces, like those lavender ones, come from old clothes, her mother handed them down to her “ Mama explains to her daughter (Walker 98). Mama’s concern for her traditions and heritage show that she honors them in a very special way despite of Dee’s direct view of her mother appreciation for