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Everyday Use by Alice Walker

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In "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, Walker shows differences in human character, just by the way they act towards family members. The main character in the story, Mother, has two daughters that she treats very differently, and they treat her differently. One daughter looks down on Mother in a condescending manner, and the other is obedient and kind. In "Everyday Use", Walker shows that in relationships between a mother and daughters, adaptation to change can sometimes be very hard, which leads to pride and protecting what one has accomplished, and finally shows how un-appreciation can hinder these relationships.

Walker shows that in mother and daughter relationships adaptation to change can be hard in a variety of ways. First, Dee, Mother's oldest daughter, comes home to visit her mother and little sister Maggie. When she shows up, she introduces herself as "Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo" (416). Her mother is confused about why she wants to change her name, since it was the one that was passed down. Dee explains that the other name did not suit her. Now even though Mother reluctantly goes along with this new name, it is obvious that she is not used to changing names, especially if it is one of great family importance. Another character that that has a hard time changing along with Mother is Maggie. When Mother sent Dee to a good school where she could get a very good education, Dee used to come back and try to teach her lowly, uneducated family members. Maggie and her Mother were not used to this, and they were happy with the education that they had. Instead, Dee "read to us without pity; forcing words, lies other folks' habits, whole lives upon us two, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice" (413) and tried t...

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...daries and what belongs to her. She seems to think that objects that are important in Mother and Maggie's life are just aesthetic pieces of art instead of real life tools. Her idea of reality became warped around the lack of respect she showed the rest of her family.

The turning point in the mother/daughter relationship came at the end of the story, when Mother realized all of the horrible things her daughter was doing; not even necessarily doing intentionally. She thought that perhaps her daughter would change her un-appreciativeness, and respect her pride for her way of life and her valued items around her, but she had to decide between one daughter and the other. The one who would display the quilts and household items as pieces to be viewed and admired as a way of the old life, or to the other daughter who would use them in the way they were meant to be used.
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