Literary Analysis "Everyday Use"

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Literary Analysis “Everyday Use” In the story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, there are three main characters. The mother, youngest daughter Maggie, and Dee, the oldest daughter who is trying to leave her past behind while attempting to find herself and her African heritage as she thinks it should be. There has always been an unspoken jealousy between Mama and the oldest daughter. Dee is seeking a way out of the poverty and oppression of the times, so much, that while she was away at school she had changed her name to one that has an African meaning while omitting any trace of her current true history. Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo is Dee’s new name. This in an attempt to live what she believes is her heritage while leaving the oppression and poverty behind, which actually has created a wedge between herself and the rest of her immediate family. Symbolism and the use of tangible items used every day bring Dees perception and her mother’s perception of heritage to places that are completely opposite of one another. The story takes place within an oppressed black family in the 1960’s during the Civil Rights movement when young blacks were searching to find themselves and their true African heritage. Mama, which is also the narrator, takes pride in sweeping the dirt in the yard which is referred to as an “extended living room only with a breeze and an ability to look up into the elm tree.” Mama states that she has “deliberately turned her back on her house” and describes it as “not having windows and a tin roof “and seems to be perfectly satisfied with these living conditions. Walker refers to the previous house that had burned several years before while “Dee watched as the last dingy gray board of the house fall toward the red-hot brick chimney.” Dee stares with heavy concentration perhaps imagining out with the old; in with the new. Mama even states that she

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