Essay, Research Paper: Everyday Use By Alice Walker


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"Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, written in 1944, narrates the story of
black family composed of a Mother and her two daughters: Maggie and Dee. Dee is
the oldest one. A point that we can easily notice as the story is developed is
that Maggie is extremely jealous of her sister. She believes that her sister has
a better life than she does. The mother is the one that narrates the story; she
makes different descriptions about both girls. The story has many examples to
explain why Maggie believes that her sister has a better life. As we read the
story, we can perceive that the idea of prejudice appears related to the fact
that Maggie feels bad about her sister. Maggie is extremely jealous of her
sister; she does not like the presence of Dee in her house. As her mother says
in the story, " Maggie will be nervous until her sister goes...eying her
sister with a mixture of envy and awe." She believes that her sister gets
everything she wants; all she needs to do is ask somebody for what she wants.
She thinks that, " no is a word that the world never learned to say to
her." From her point of view, Dee controls the world with her hands; she
can do whatever she wants. Another example that exposes the reality of Maggie is
that even her mother treats them differently. Dee is the perfect girl while
Maggie is just a normal person. Her mother dreams with Dee; even in her dreams
she believes that Dee is perfect. In her dream, there are only three persons:
Herself, Dee, and the TV guy. "Sometime I dream a dream in which De and I
are suddenly brought together on a TV program..." those were the words of
her mother. Maggie's name was never mentioned in the dream. The descriptions
that the mother makes of Maggie and Dee are completely different. " Dee is
lighter than Maggie, with nice hair and fuller figure," said the mother.
"Her feet was always neat looking..." again the mother was referring
to Dee. When she describes Maggie, she uses an analogy of a lame animal. Even
the memories she had from their past are different. "Sometimes I can still
hear the flames and feel Maggie's arms sticking to me, her hair smoking and her
dress falling off her in little black papery flakes." Those were her
memories of Maggie's childhood. On the other hand, the memories of Dee's
childhood were all happy. She described a scene were "Dee is standing off
under the sweet gum tree she used to dig gum out of..." We can notice that
even her mother treats them differently. We can perceive as the story advances
that there is an idea of prejudice in the story. Maggie has motives to believe
that her sister has a better life than she has. Her mother, who was supposed to
treat them equally, has preference for the older girl. She has plenty of reasons
to feel jealous of her sister; in her situation, most of the people would feel
the same way she does.
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