Everyday Use Character Analysis

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Riley Walters October 26, 2014 “Everyday Use” Character Analysis The Character of Mama in “Everyday Use” Mama, the narrator of Alice Walker’s story, “Everyday Use,” is a strong, loving mother who is sometimes threatened and burdened by her daughters, Dee and Maggie. Gentle and stern, her inner monologue offers us a glimpse of the limits of a mother’s unconditional love. Mama is brutally honest and often critical in her assessment of both Dee and Maggie. She harshly describes shy, withering Maggie’s limitations, and Dee provokes an even more pointed evaluation. Mama resents the education, sophistication, and air of superiority that Dee has acquired over the years. Mama fantasizes about reuniting with Dee on a television talk show and about Dee expressing gratitude to Mama for all Mama has done for her. This brief fantasy reveals the distance between the two and how under appreciated Mama feels. Despite this brief daydream, Mama remains a practical woman with few illusions about how things are. Mama is a single parent raising two daughters. Mama describes herself as a large, big boned woman with rough, man working hands. She proudly tells of her ability to kill and clean hogs as viciously as any man. She tells us, “One winter I knocked a bull calf straight in the brain between the eyes with a sledge hammer and had the meat hung up to chill before nightfall.” I believe these skills were developed out of sheer survival and necessity. There’s no doubt about it our narrator is one tough lady. Mama starts the story recalling the dreams she often has in which she and Dee reunites on a television talk show. In this dream she has described herself almost as if it is the woman that she wished she was. For example she states she is “a hundred pounds lighter, her skin like an uncooked barley pancake.” Although she says the way she looks in the dream is the way her
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