Symbolic Meaning with Character Contrast, in Walker’s “Everyday Use” Essay

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Nathan Vallin Professor Tsoneva ENC-1102-32018 8 September 2012 Character Analysis of Dee and Maggie, from Walker’s “Everyday Use” One thing that will always be constant in life is change. Change for the better, and change for the worse. Change for good, and change for bad. The short story “Everyday Use” was written by Alice Walker in 1973, a time period filled with change and indifference. And in a way that is exactly what this story represents, change and indifference. From the changing of times, to the difference in lifestyles. In this essay I will analyze the different traits and lifestyles of two sisters, Dee and Maggie. And I will illustrate how the title Everyday Use, relates to each character. See, the two characters have very different personalities, which plays an important role in the story. And the title, “Everyday Use” is not only used as a metaphor in this story, but is very symbolic, and important in sending a specific message. Let’s begin by analyzing the first daughter Dee. Dee is the oldest daughter of Mrs. Johnson, the older sister to Maggie, and the protagonist character in the story, “Everyday Use.” The story is told by the mother, Mrs. Johnson as a first person narrative. And the story begins as follows, “I will wait for her in the yard that Maggie and I made so clean and wavy yesterday afternoon. A yard like this is more comfortable than most people know. (Walker 6)” Right away, Mrs. Johnson gives us the illusion that she is anticipating somebody important, someone she has high value for, and really wants to impress. Truth is Mrs. Johnson has been awaiting Dee’s approval for her entire life. In the story Mrs. Johnson has a day dream, where she is on a live television show, hosted by someone like Johnny Carson, and she looks very attractive (nothing like her real appearance) and her daughter Dee embraces her with a warm smile and pins an

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