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Everyday Use Essay

840 words - 4 pages

A Summary of "Everyday Use" Alice Walker's short story "Everyday Use" reminds us of what an ordinary black women was like while raising a family. Miss Johnson, a mother of two daughters; raised, Dee and Maggie, but were two completely different people. Dee is the oldest and is portrayed as a goddess in the wrong time. She is light-skinned and with a full figure. Maggie, the youngest, was burned as a child and has a bit of a limp. She is a little shy and knows that brightness has passed her by. Miss Johnson is the mother who is telling the story. She is a big-boned black woman, who was blessed with her manly size, that allows her to do hard manual work. The setting seems to be a farm tended by the mother. She lives in a tin roof three-bedroom house. It has no glass windows, just cut out holes.The story begins with mama waiting in the yard, that her and Maggie swept clean yesterday afternoon. Dee is coming home to visit today, after promising she would no matter where they lived. The ...view middle of the document...

Dee greeted 2 mama with "Wasuzo Teano! And her friend said, "Asalamalakim." Dee goes to the car and pulls out a Polaroid camera, and takes some pictures, as if they were endangered species. Mama calls Dee over to find out that she has changed her name to Wangero Leewanike Kemanjo, because she couldn't bear being named after the people who oppressed her. Mama tells her that she was named after her aunt, Dicie and Grandma Dee. They went on with the never-ending argument, but mama cut it short. They sat down to eat, but "Asalamalkim" didn't eat collards or pork. He appeared to be a Muslim. Dee went on to eat anyway. She inhaled the chitlins, corn bread, and the greens. She bragged about the sweet potatoes, and everything delighted her. After, dinner Dee went to the trunk at the foot of mama's bed. She pulled put two quilts and asked if she could have them. Maggie slammed the kitchen door, as if she objected to the idea. Mama gave in and Dee was walking out with the quilts, but she changed her mind when she saw the look on Maggie's face. She did something she never done before. Mama ran into the living room, snatched the quilts back and placed them on Maggie's lap. All Dee could say was that they didn't understand their heritage; she wanted to hang the quilts up, like works of art. Dee began to leave, but not before telling Maggie she ought to make something of herself, also. Dee sees a new day and thinks her mom and sister are not living in it. She puts on her big sunglasses that hid everything above her nose. Maggie shows a real smile, it was more like laughter. She was laughing at her sister for the first time.3 Heritage can be easily misused. You are supposed to be proud and unashamed of your heritage. Dee claimed she knew her heritage, but did she? She really wanted to forget where she came from. Her visit was not with good intensions filled with loving warmth. This was more like a look down session, analyzing the lives of her poor family. Ashamed and embarrassed she changed her name and wanted to be looked at as someone who made it. Dee did not make it, she merely just settled for less. Her success is a cover up, for if she succeeded she wouldn't want to forget where she came from and who she really is. Miss Johnson and Maggie should be the ones doing the looking down upon.

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