Everyday Use essays
How the specific choice of narration and point of view in Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" is used in order to illustrate two divergent philosophies of culture:
In "Everyday Use", Alice Walker tells a story of a mother's conflicted relationship with her two daughters: Dee (Wangero) and Maggie. Dee/Wangero represents the "new black", with her natural hairdo and brightly coloured clothing. Maggie remains the traditional: the unchanged, unaffected bystander. On its surface, "Everyday Use" tells how a mother gradually rejects the superficial values of her older, successful daughter in favour of the practical values of her younger, less fortunate daughter. It is the conflict of the two daughters that illustrates two divergent or conflicting philosophies of culture.
"Everyday Use" is written in thefirst person narrative. The narrator is the mother, and the story is told in her point of view. Because the mother is so closely related to the characters in the story, her perception of them is biased.Walker uses this point of view to her advantage, because while the reader is familiar with Wangero’s somewhat stereotypical “newborn” personality, this aspect of her personality remains completely foreign to her mother, the narrator, who describes it with an innocent wonder.
The mother describes herself as a;large, big boned woman with rough, man working hands. In the winter I wear flannel nightgowns to bed and overalls during the day. I can kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man.;This description along with her reference to a second grade education leads the reader to conclude that this woman takes pride in the practical aspects of her nature, and that she has not spent a great deal of time contemplating abstract concepts such as heritage and culture. However, her lack of education and refinement does not prevent her from having an understanding of heritag…