The Setting of Everyday Use

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The Setting of Everyday Use In "Everyday Use", by Alice Walker, everyday things illustrates the setting of the story in great detail, and the reactions of the main characters to these objects, to distinguish the plain and realistic with the fashionable and trendy. The main characters on one side of the story are Mama and the younger daughter Maggie, and older daughter Dee on the other. Each character having opposing views on the value and worth of the various items in their lives, and Walker uses this conflict to make the point that the substance of an object, and of people, is more important than style. In the story the main characters can be viewed as total opposites from one another. Mama, the narrator of the story, gives a physical description of herself as a "large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands" (Walker, 456). Mama does not paint an attractive picture of herself, but she goes on to list the many things that she is skilled to do. Similar to the items in the setting around her, she seems more interested in realism, and less interested in the nature of beauty. Dee, on the other hand, is defined by her sense of style and attitude, and does not seem to do anything. When her name was Dee, she hated the objects around her for their lack of beauty and style. When she became a member of the Nation of Islam and changed her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo, for the reason she mentions, “I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me” (Walker, 458). Dee saw the old items as a part of her new proclaimed heritage as works of art, failing to see her true heritage of her family legacy, and wanted them not for “Everyday Use”, but for decor. Such examples of the items are the butter churn and dasher. The butter churn and dasher are both described in detail by Mama, which highlights their value to her. The butter churn, which
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