Everyday Use

811 Words4 Pages
In her short story “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker portrays the conflicts and struggles within a family’s culture. The focus is on two characters with completely different personalities and their conflict about a family’s heirloom. Alice Walker shows in her story that one’s culture and values can be affected by the personalities, different lifestyles, and a family’s relationship. “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker shows the struggle in how the relationship and values of a family can be affected by different influences in their lifestyles. The story follows the main characters who are Dee, Maggie and Mama. Maggie is a humble character who leads a simple life without the knowledge and opportunities like Dee had. Dee is Maggie’s older sister, and is said to be a very educated and determined to get what she wants. Mama is their mother who is described as being middle-aged, big boned and has a body that is more like a man’s. The story begins when Dee visits after time away and a conflict between her and her mother over heirlooms begins. The struggle between the two characters over the heirlooms shows the contrast in ideas about their heritage and traditions. Throughout the beginning of the story Dee goes back and forth on being and rejecting her traditions. For example, when she wants the quilts that her mother has stating that she wants them because of the generations of clothing and effort put into making the quilt, showing her appreciation for her heritage. But the quilts have been promised to be given to Maggie by their mother. Dee says that the priceless quilts will be destroyed if given to Maggie and Mama sticks up for the younger saying she knows how to quilt and can make more of them if she wanted. Mama who usually gave Dee everythin... ... middle of paper ... ...h the serious way she read, to shove us away at just the moment, like dimwits, we seemed about to understand” (Walker). In conclusion, Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” portrays the conflicts and struggles within a family’s culture. The focus is on two characters with completely different personalities and their conflict about a family’s heirloom. Alice Walker shows in her story that one’s culture and values can be affected by the personalities, different lifestyles, and a family’s relationship. The difference between Maggie and Dee’s personalities affect the acceptance of their culture and values. The family relationship and the different lifestyles also contribute to how cultures and values can be affected as well. Works Cited Walker, Alice. “Everyday Use." BetterLesson. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2014. .
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