An Analysis of A Family’s Disparities in Everyday Use

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Alice Walker includes three major Characters in her short story Everyday Use; Mama and her two daughters Dee and Maggie. The three have extremely different personalities and characteristics especially Dee. Dee leaves her mother and her sister to experiences a better life in college in the city. Meanwhile mama and Maggie elatedly carry out their usual tasks and every day chores. Later Dee decides to visit her family for her selfish intention of taking objects from her mother to decorate her apartment according to her new culture. Walker uses mama to indicate the immense differences between Dee, Maggie, and herself.

Mama describes Dee as a young, beautiful girl who wanted nice things.(281). Dees education, pretty face, and cute body impress most people. Intimidated by Dee, many people concede to Dees wishes because they know she will in win the end. For example, when Maggie tells mama that Dee can have the quilts, Maggie has no hope of winning, so she simply does not try to beat her older sister. Even Mama wished to look a certain way to please Dee; a hundred pounds lighter, my skin like an uncooked barley cake (281). The selfish Dee never satisfied even after moving to the city, came back to visit mama and Maggie only to acquire objects that she believes should be used for decoration rather that to be put to everyday use. The best instance of her selfishness, when she wanted to take the quilt, displays her materialistic attitude. Having everything her sister desire; she still wants to take one of the few things set-aside especially for her. Throughout the story, Dee never indicates any sign of gratitude toward her mother or her sister.

Unattractive and uneducated, Maggie lives contently with her life style. Unlike Dee Maggie does not wish for better things as long as she has the basic needs and essentials for living. Maggie wants to use the quilts to keep warm while Dee wishes to hang then as a display of her culture. Ashamed of the burn scars throughout her body and her scrawny figure, Maggie displays some envy towards her sister. She thinks her sister has held life in the palm of her hand, that no is a word the world never learned to say to her(280). Dee is lighter than Maggie with nicer hair and fuller figure(281), for this reason Maggie feels self-conscious around her sister. Mama describes Maggies stance as Chin on chest, eyes on ground, feet in shuffle(281). Despite her lack of confidence Maggie displays her strength silently throughout the tale. She displays this strength when she tells mama to give the quilts to Dee and that she can member grandma Dee without the quilts.(283). Maggie is her own person while Dee tries to be better than everyone, the way she believes people want her to be. Maggie keeps objects around for conventional uses rather than looks. Maggie may lack the education that Dee acquires but she is still the smarter of the two in a more customary way.

Courageous and strong like most mothers, mama displays that she wants what is best for her daughters. She describes herself as big boned woman with rough man working hands. (280). Despite her poor way of life mama is content. Mama believes that she has much in common with Maggie and nothing in common with Dee. Like mama, Maggie has no intention of getting an education or to have what Dee believes to be a nice life. Mama believes she has much to be thankful for. Mama shows her strength best when she takes the quilts from Dee and gives then to Maggie. Mama tries to understand Maggie and Dee but she will always so what she thinks right even if she hurts one of them.

In conclusion, Maggie and Dee differ in their views of life and their values towards material objects. Alice Walker displays the characteristics and the contrast between Dee and Maggie through the viewpoint of mama.

Cite this paper

An Analysis of A Family’s Disparities in Everyday Use. (2023, May 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/an-analysis-of-a-familys-disparities-in-everyday-use/

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