Symbolism In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

1263 Words6 Pages
In the world of literature nothing is more compelling than reading a story and feeling as though you yourself are witnessing firsthand the events and character’s struggles unfold, due to the interactive language and intricate details the author incorporates into their writing. It is through Alice Walker’s conversational style of writing, and vivid use of symbolism that she is able to give an elaborate description of the family culture gap in the story allowing the readers to explore the concept of African- American heritage. These writing techniques also play a major role in keeping the readers engaged from start to finish. This is especially evident in Walker’s short story “Everyday Use”. Walker has skillfully honed her craft and by integrating…show more content…
Walker uses Dee to symbolize the progress made by African Americans in the 1950’s and 60’s which was characterized by bright and beautiful blacks who were vocal and aggressive in their demands. During this era, many blacks refused to continue hiding their African culture, became increasingly proud of their differences, and adopted certain aspects of their ancestry in the way they dressed. Mama’s characterizations vof Dee illustrate her as a perfect example of this “Dee, though. She would always look anyone in the eye. Hesitation was no part of her nature,…She was determined to stare down any disaster in her efforts. Her eyelids would not flicker for minutes at a time…At sixteen she had a style of her own: and she knew what style was” (Walker, “Everyday Use” 409). These personality traits, along with her style of dress and speech, establish her identity as a symbol of the Black Power movement. It is crucial to recognize that Walker is not castigating the Black Power movement as a whole, however she uses the character of Dee to exhibit this mistaken and confusion of black pride. Symbolism can be found in abundance throughout this story, and another prime example would be the infamous quilts.The quilts are not just a representation of the…show more content…
Firstly, she mixes both educated (Dee) and uneducated (Mrs. Johnston and Maggie) dialogue into the story. By taking this approach the author allows the readers to grasp the cultural gap and conflict between the characters. When Dee talks she uses eloquent and fluent sentences, whereas Mrs.Johnston and Maggie use simplistic, short and often incomplete sentences. (enter quote) It is clear there is some envy between the family members over the fact that Dee (Wangero) is educated however the conflict occurs because Maggie is more educated when it comes to her ancestry and heritage. Walker also uses a conversational approach to writing, which makes the reader engaged because it helps to build a sense of comfort and rapport with readers. A conversational style makes it easier for readers to relate to characters and helps to actual person. To that end, Walker makes the story easier to understand because her conversational English expresses the message more effectively and efficiently to readers. Walker utilizes an array of powerful and expressive sentences, although they may be short and simple they are well thought out when trying to make a point and explain a particular situation. (quote) This depicts how Maggie is insecure when stating her opinion even though she wants to make a point about how the butter dish is actually perceived., and

More about Symbolism In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

Open Document