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Alice Walker’s Story Everyday Use

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Essay title: Alice Walker’s Story Everyday Use

In Alice Walker’s story “Everyday Use,” symbolism, allegory, and myth stand out when thinking about the characters, setting, and conflict in the story. The conflict is between the mother and her two daughters (Maggie and Dee). There is also the conflict between the family’s heritage (symbolized by the quilt, bench, and butter chum) and their different ways of life. Dee chose a new African name, moved to the city, and adopted a new way of life while Maggie and her mother have stay behind. The quilt (the most important symbol) represents the family’s heritage in that it is made of scraps of clothing worn by generations of family members. The quilt has been sewn by family hands and used on family beds. It has seen history and is history. Maggie and her mother see that that history is alive but Dee thinks it is as dead as her name. Dee does not see that name as part of her heritage. By analyzing these symbols, a number of possibilities for a theme can be seen. Walker could be suggesting that to understand the African-American heritage, readers have to include the present as well as the past. However, the theme could be that poverty and a lack of sophistication and education cannot be equated with ignorance. Lastly, she could be telling her readers that dignity or self-respect rise from and are virtually connected to one’s entire heritage- not just a selected part of it.

Dylan Thomas wrote the poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.” It is about a son’s plea to his father who is approaching death. Two lines are repeated in the poem and addressed directly to the father. These lines structure the first stanza and collaborate as a couplet in the last.

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