Everyday Use Analysis

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Everyday use is a story that begins with a mother who is sitting in her yard with Maggie, her daughter, waiting for her other daughter Dee to arrive. Maggie is shy, has burns on her leg and appears to be the underdog compared to Dee who on the other hand has seemed to have everything handed to her. This exposition gives meaning to the actions portrayed in the story. Dee arrives with a new boyfriend Hakim-a-barber and has constructed a new heritage. She greets them strangely by taking pictures of them and announcing she changed her name to Wangero. Dees condescending and snobbish attitude produces a tension that builds on to the climax. Dee then finds some old quilts handmade by her family and wants to keep them. Dee throws a fit after her…show more content…
Both literary works describe a struggle of being an Black American. Whether it be a civil rights struggle, or the struggle with preservation of heritage. Both Authors incorporate part of Black American history into their work. For example, “We Wear the Mask” shows the times when segregation and inequality was apparent. This poem was written before the civil rights movement. “Everyday use however takes place in a time where Black Americans embraced their African roots during the black power movement in the 1960’s. Another similarity I see is that the characters in “ Everyday Use” seem to wear their own masks of lies hiding their own truths. For example Maggie doesn't believe that she deserves respect and usually puts herself second, indifferent to the way she feels. “ Maggie smiled; maybe at the sunglasses. But a real smile”. This suggest that Maggie shows a glimpse of her true self for a brief moment by showing a “real smile”, after being triumphant over her…show more content…
The last distinct similarity is that both works end with some type of truth revealed. For example, by the end of Dunbar's poem we were shown the pain and suffering under the “mask”. The truth that was revealed by the ending of Walker's short story as well, for the first time the Narrator said no to Dee and showed a newly found appreciation for Maggie. Susan agrees about the revealed truth when she say “Commentaries on Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" typically center on Mama's awakening to one daughter's superficiality and to the other's deepseated understanding of heritage.

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