Everyday Use Essay

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Alexander Moultrie English 100 July 16, 2012 Everyday Use In the short story “Everyday Use” Alice Walker uses characterization, symbolism, and humor to get her point across. Alice Walker is best known for her novel “The Color Purple,” like many of her stories; It is written in a time where slavery, and racial violence is a harsh reality. Alice Walker characterizes the characters in this short story in great detail, to the point that you feel as if you know them. She brings the characters to life without any limitations, describing mama as a “ large big-boned women with, rough man- working hands.” (paragraph. 5 pg. 175) You can easily understand and make an argument for what and how each character may think, due to the vivid and animated perception she draws of them. Alice Walker describes Dee to act somewhat better than her mother and sister to the effect that she looks down on them, simply by the dialogue mama shares with Dee about her name change. “No mama”, she says, “not Dee, Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo” (paragraph 25 page 178). ‘’Instead of honoring and embracing her roots, Dee looks down on her surroundings, believing herself to be above them,” (sparknote.com) not understanding the symbol of what her name really means. Walker uses metaphors such as, “Have you ever seen a lame animal, perhaps a dog ran over by some careless person rich enough to own a car.” (paragraph 2 pg 176) Is how Walker explains Maggie’s extreme lack of narcissism, due to the scars she wears from the house fire years ago. “I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me” (paragraph 25 page 179). Dee tries to justify the reason of her name change, but not realizing how symbolic her name was, of how many strong African American women in her family came before her named Dee. This story takes place in the early 1900s, where

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