Alice Walker Everyday Use Summary

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In Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use” (rpt. In Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson, Pierrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense, 11th ed. [Boston: Wadsworth, 2012] 166-173), the mother thought of her daughter, Dee (Wangero), as the picture of perfection. She thought Dee was successful, intelligent, and culturally sensitive. In the end, she realizes her daughter is ignorant and disrespectful. The story demonstrates to the audience that people who are educated are not better than others. In the beginning of the story, the mother fantasizes about Dee thanking her on television for everything she has done for her. She tells about her daughter’s background and success. Dee seems to have a better life than her mother and sister. Dee has an education and style. “She’d made [a green suit] from an old suit somebody gave me [the mother]” (168). Dee has skills when it comes to giving clothes a signature look. The mother reveals her lack of education as well as Maggie’s. Both women didn’t receive a proper education, and their looks were not as socially acceptable as Dee’s. The mother was a bigger woman with a lower-level education who could handle male-dominated jobs. Maggie had a learning disability and struggled with her burn marks. Dee’s life was paradise compared to her mother and sister’s.…show more content…
Her mother saw potential and raised the money to send her away to give her an education she deserved. Dee did have some historic knowledge about the African- American culture. She reveals this when she said, “I couldn’t bear it [her real name] any longer, being named after the people who oppress me” (170). Many African slaves that were brought to America had their named changed to fit western culture. Dee believed that her name was given to her by a slave owner who had tortured an ancestor of hers in the past. Her remark was disrespectful to her family since her name is a traditional family

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