Everyday Use By Alice Walker

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Everyday Use by Alice Walker


Everyday use is written by Alice Walker, and this story is based on the basic concept of inheritance which represents the political movement of early 60s of Native African Americans. In this story, the basic idea of African American has been discussed also discusses the main problems that a native family faced (Donnelly, 11). The main character of this story is MAMA, who lived with her daughters naming Dee Wangero and Maggie the youngest one.

Everyday Use "was published when Alice Walker began her writing career. It was part of her collection In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women in 1973. The work has been critically acclaimed and generated many reviews and critique. The story revolves around a black woman belonging to a rural area, who believes in preserving her heritage and valuing ancestral assets.

Thesis Statement

Alice Walker addresses in her short story are humans' varied perspectives of heritage while it is common to feel sympathy for Mama and Maggie in "Everyday Use".


The story is set in the late 1960s or early 1970s. It was a time marked by identity crisis as many American families sought to reestablish their social, cultural and political identity. There were attempts to pay due homage to the struggles of the afro-American in the country's colorful history. The edification players, along with common men, began to establish an interest in the African American past. The African heritage that had sustained through the centuries generated much interest. The blacks also craved a unique identity, they wanted to make sure that they were properly represented and saw themselves as an important group in America. The term Negro or nigger replaced black or afro-American (Koppelman, 123). This had very negative connotations. The blacks were burdened by recollections of their slave past. They wanted to trace their roots back to their African heritage. The story is set in a period which saw the emergence of carried and different sub-groups. Some were peaceful, others aggressive in their quest for self-identity and recognition.

In "Everyday Use", the plot is relatively simple; older daughter comes home from school to visit Mama and her younger sister. She asks to have a couple of quilts that were made by her ancestors but Mama won't give them to her because they were for the younger sister. The angry older daughter storms out, then the story is over. But there is so much more into this story than the seemingly typical family conflict. It's about clashing of cultural values- forever dilemma of human nature and surely, a problem that we cannot neglect ourselves. The characters of Walker are symbolic in their physical attributes and deeds concerning their culture. For instance, Dee's boyfriend converts to Islam and stopped eating pork and collard greens, consequently rejecting the participating in the African-American culture.

Main Characters

The story takes into account the conflict in approach that the mother has with her daughter. Maggie - she is the younger daughter and stays at home and learns the traditional skills, while her ...
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