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"Everyday Use" The story "Everyday Use", written by Alice Walker, is a story of heritage, pride, and learning what kind of person you really are. In the exposition, the story opens with background information about Dee and Maggie's life, which is being told by Mama. The reader learns that Dee was the type of child that got everything and had everything that she wanted, while Maggie was the complete opposite. The crisis, which occurs later in the story, happens when Dee all of a sudden comes home a different person than she was when she left. During the Climax, Mama realizes that she has often neglected her other child, Maggie, by always giving Dee what she wants. Therefore, in the resolution, Mama defends Maggie by telling Dee that she cannot have the household items that she wants just to show others, instead of putting them to use like Maggie.
The main character in the story "Everyday Use" would have to be Mama, without a doubt. Although she doesn't change like Dee does, Mama changes a great deal. Mama would also have to be the main character because she narrates the story. At the beginning of the story, Mama sounds like she does not have a lot of confidence in herself. For example, she states that "But that was a mistake.
I know even before I wake up. Who ever knew a Johnson with a quick tongue? Who can even imagine me looking a strange white man in the eye? It seems to me I have talked to them always with one foot raised in flight, with my head turned in whichever way is farthest from them." (89). Mama is the type of person that is proud of her past and what her ancestors have accomplished, but does not understand the direction that her daughter Dee is going in. Mama could be defined as a round character in the story because of the change she undergoes at the end. Mama's goes through a dramatic change in the story when she gets up the nerve to tell her aggressive, non-hesitant daughter "No", and gives her other daughter Maggie, who has often been on the bad end of things, the household items for her marriage. Dee could probably be considered a main character in the story, but her change was too simple, because she changed on the outside only, and because she didn't change on the day that the story occured. Mama stated "When I looked at her like that something hit me in the top of my head and ran down to the souls of my feet.
Just like when I'm in church and the spirit of God touches me and I get happy and shout" (94). Maggie did not have a lot of input in the story although she did change a little, both were flat characters. Mama is a more in-depth character than Dee and Maggie because the reader is given very descriptive attributes of her physically and mentally. Dee did not want to quilt to remember her heritage by, but instead to hang it up on the wall like some sort of trophy to show others where she has come from. She loves her family very much, but is ashamed of the surroundings she grew up in. Overall, Mama's change had a big impact on the story due to the fact that she went from a woman who had low self esteem and was scared to tell someone "No", to a caring mother who suddenly realizes that she has not done for Maggie in ways she could have done.Walker, Alice.
"Everyday Use". Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. 8th Ed. Copyright 2002: X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.
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