Essay on Everyday Use By Alice Walker

Essay on Everyday Use By Alice Walker

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“Everyday use” by Alice Walker, was set in the early 1970s when many African American were struggling to define their social and cultural identity. It was a time when many blacks were looking back to their African roots in an effort to reconnect with their ancestors and struggling to reject their American heritage which was dominated by injustice and painful histories. Alice Walker try to clarify this double consciousness problem in “ Everyday Use” by pointing out that one can be black and still embrace his African heritages without losing his American identity.
The narrator humbly tell us that she is a typical rural black American women who live on subsistence farming but she rejected the traditional gender role by having a masculine persona.The narrator “mama” as she describes herself is a tough lady. She tell reader that “ one winter I knocked down a bull calf straight in the brain between the eyes with a sledge hammer and the meat hang up to chill before nightfall”(5). She doesn 't say anything about having a husband, as such it might be very likely that she might raised Dee and Maggie by herself as a single mom. Mama doesn 't complain about life, and she is proud of herself and her accomplishment even if they live in . Although Wangero and her”friend” Hakim-a- barber look down on the way she and Maggie live their life.
The narrator born and grew up in an era when black people were excluded from enjoying many social and economical opportunities that white people were given like education. She mentioned that, “I never had an education myself. After second grade the school was closed down”(316). However, “her lack of education and refinement does not prevent her from having an inherent understanding of heritage ba...


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... having African hair style and adopting Islam as their religion.
At the first encounter moma misunderstood Hakim-a-barber’s greeting “Assalamualaikum”(319) as his name, which indicates the ideological gap between individual that embrace islam as a means of empowerment and those ordinary rural African American like mama, who are more concerned with making a living on a daily basis rather than the nationalist ideas of educated African Americans like Hakim-a-barber, who live in cities. When the narrator mentioned to Hakim-a-barber that “you must belong to those beef-cattle peoples down the road”(319), he replied that, “ I accept some of their doctrines”( 319). He accept only some of the doctrines that goes along with his life style. The fact that he accepted only some of the doctrines indicates his superficial understanding of his religion which he proudly talk about.

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