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Alice Walker’s “everyday Use”

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Essay title: Alice Walker’s “everyday Use”

Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use.”

In the short story, “Everyday Use”, by Alice Walker, the characters consist of a black family composed of Mama and her two daughters: Dee and Maggie. Walker does a good job illustrating her unique characters. Dee, her oldest daughter who is visiting from college, is very different from her younger sister Maggie, who lives at home with her mother. The only thing these sisters have in common is the fact that they were both raised in the same household. However, Dee and Maggie differ in appearance, personality, and their ideas concerning family heritage.

When it comes to the sister’s appearance, Maggie is the less attractive one. Mama says, “She knows she is not bright. Like good looks and money, quickness passed her by” (100). She is awkward and thin. She carries herself with low self-esteem, “chin on chest, eyes on ground, feet in shuffle” (99). Also, she is very self-conscious of the scars she received from the fire that burned their other house, “homely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs” (99). Dee, on the other hand, is attractive. Her mother recalls, “Dee is lighter than Maggie, with nicer hair and a fuller figure” (100). Dee took pride in her appearance and liked to have nice things. “At sixteen she had a style of her own: and knew what style was” (100).

Personality is another difference between the two sisters. Maggie is shy and intimidated by Dee. She is nervous about her sister’s visit, and when she does finally arrive, she feels very uncomfortable and tries to run inside the house, “Maggie attempts to make a dash for the house, in her shuffling way” (100). Also, Maggie is unable to express herself to Dee about the family quilts. Maggie gives in and says that Dee can have the quilts. Dee is the very opposite of her sister when it comes to personality. Dee is confident and arrogant. As a young girl, Dee has never been afraid to express herself. Her mother recalls, “She would always look anyone in the eye. Hesitation was no part of her nature” (99). Also, selfishness is another personality trait of Dee. She wants to have the family’s butter churn, even though she knows they still use the churn. She says, “I can use the churn top as

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