Everyday Use

649 Words3 Pages
The saying never judge a book by its cover is brought to mind when I read this story. "Everyday Use" has three main characters; Mama, Maggie, and Dee. The only things we know about these characters are through Mama's eyes. Mama is telling the story, so everything we read is from what she says. It is hard for us to know the true personalities of the characters because we learn of them through one characters point of view. It is also easy to misunderstand the characters because of the information the story reveals. Maggie is one of the daughters in the story. She is described as being like a lame animal, she walks with her "chin on chest, eyes on ground, and feet in shuffle" (Walker 87). Her mother gives the impression that Maggie is ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs that the fire left her with. Maggie is the younger of the two daughters. It seems as though she is still very naive and gullible. Maggie is uneducated like her mother and her lack of education has a lot to do with her character. Mama is able to persuade and control Maggie because she does not know any better. Maggie is seen as being a sweet, well behaved young lady. Possibly that is just Mama's favoritism between the girls showing through. Maybe Maggie really is that way, but we only know what we can perceive from Mama's story. Dee is the older and wiser of the two girls. Her sister Maggie says she has "Always held life in the palm of one hand," that "no is a word the world never learned to say to her" (Walker 86). The story condemns Dee as being "shallow," "condescending," and "manipulative," as overly concerned with style, fashion, and aesthetics, and thus lacking a "true" understanding of her heritage (Farrell 179). Some of this... ... middle of paper ... ...ster and then returns after bettering herself. Mama and Maggie are obviously somewhat jealous of Dee's life. Dee is misunderstood as a selfish, bratty, unappreciative daughter. Maggie is misunderstood as being this sweet, shy, perfect child. Both of the sisters are very misunderstood, but Dee is definitely the most understood of the two. Dee deserves a lot more credit than she receives in this story. Works Cited Farrell, Susan. "Fight vs. Flight: A Re-evaluation of Dee in Alice Walker's "Everyday Use."' Studies in Short Fiction 35. 1998 Newberry College, 179-86. Walker, Alice. "Everyday Use." Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. 2nd Compacted ed. Eds. Edgar v. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003. Watkins, Mel. "In Love and Trouble," The New York Times Book Review. March 1974. 40-41.
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