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Transcript of "Everyday Use"
Shot in the eye with a BB gun led to disfigurement (the reason she wrote about characters with disfigurements)
Attended Spelman College and Sarah Lawrence College
Worked in the Civil Rights Movement against segregation
Argues for the survival of all African Americans by "keeping creativity alive" "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” follows a brief encounter between Mama and her daughters Maggie and Dee. “Everyday Use” is a story about Dee coming home and wishing to take family heirlooms away with her. Mama initially allows Dee to take what she wants. It is not until Dee wishes to take some quilts that were handmade by her aunt and grandmother, that Mama stops Dee from taking control. Mama promised those quilts to Maggie and could not allow Dee to take them. Mama's Aspirations Mama has grand aspirations for her relationship with her daughters. She often envisions them in ideal scenarios that would bring them closer together.
Mama imagines being reunited with Dee on a television show. The mother-daughter moment that she envisions is only obtained through her daydreaming. Mama is... The narrator of the story that describes
herself as big boned and rough handed with
enough skill to kill a hog as merciless as a man.
She is not an educated or refined mother but
loves her daughters and provides for them the
best she can. She has a sense of humor as she refers
to Dee's muslim boyfriend as "Asalamalakim."
She is the heart of the story as her brutal honesty
gives meaning to "Everyday Use." Mama is... Mama stands her ground and is always very adamant about the issue of family upbringing and principles. For instance, Mama takes a stand against both Hakimabarber and Dee when Dee attempts to take the quilts made for Maggie away. Mama emphasizes on that her sister and mother made the quilts; and they were being saved for Maggie’s wedding day. Though Mama is not depicted as having to yell, nor does the story suggest that her body language was aggressive, Mama takes a stand on principle and morale against Dee’s apparent greed. "Everyday Use" tells the story of family and the relationships that exist between both mother and daughter, and sisters. Why is Mama important? Why would people want to read "Everyday Use"? Mama represents the importance of
family in "Everyday Use." Her frankness and firmness speak to the importance of cherishing your family heritage. Although, Dee attempts to exude the effort of protecting her heritage, Mama lives it. She is the backbone to the Johnson family even though Dee thinks she is the one who respects the ancestry the most. "Everyday Use" is a story of family, love, and bonding. Although Mama loves both of her daughters, it is apparent that Dee is her favorite daughter. When Dee wishes to take family heirlooms home to use as pieces to be admired and not used, Mama finally stands up to Dee. By Mama keeping true to Maggie, and not allowing Dee to take what is rightfully hers, the reader watches Maggie and Mama's relationship flourish. This is a beautiful story about family and the bond that exists amongst mother and daughter. Works Cited Gates Jr., Henry Louis, and Nellie Y. McKay.
The Norton Anthology of African American Literature .
2nd. New York: W W Norton & Company , 2004. 2437-2442. Print. Gates Jr., Henry Louis, and Nellie Y. McKay. The Norton Anthology of African American Literature . 2nd. New York: W W Norton & Company , 2004. 2437-2442. Print.