Literary Analysis of Everyday Use by Alice Walker

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 705 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Feb 9, 2023

Words: 705|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Feb 9, 2023

‘Everyday Use’ is an Alice Walker short tale narrated in the first person by ‘Mama,’ an African-American woman living in the Deep South with one of her two kids. The narrative contrasts Mrs. Johnson’s educated, prosperous daughter Dee—or ‘Wangero,’ as she prefers to be called—who chooses a different path to regaining her ethnic identity with her shy, younger daughter Maggie, who still practices traditional black culture in the rural South. And in this paper, we will look at the literary analysis of Everyday Use by Alice Walker.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

Some might argue that Alice Walker uses Dee to symbolize how people didn’t put their culture into ‘everyday use.’ However, upon closer examination, I truly agree with the author Alice walker for expressing her sympathy for Mama and Maggie. The main reasons are Mama thinks how Dee’s demeanor towards them changed as she became educated, Dee’s lack of awareness of her culture is a sign of the Black Power movement’s disregard for her American heritage which on the other hand modern era challenges social bias and fights against racial groups.

Mama thinks how Dee’s demeanor towards them changed as she became educated because when she looks around the yard and at Maggie, sparking thoughts of Dee’s unhappy childhood in their home, she was frustrated with her family and their poverty, her desire for a better-quality clothing and education. These personality characteristics, along with her style of dress and expressions, establish her image as a representative of another identity. Which showed that Mama and Maggie didn’t care for what Dee’s inspired. Mama was always looking forward to have a good relation with her daughter Dee. She pictures herself getting out of a limousine and chatting to a Johnny Carson-like television host. She and Dee embrace in their daydream, tears in their hearts. But in reality, her true personality doesn’t show on television and her vision of her television reunion with Dee breaks when compares herself as she is in real life.

Dee’s lack of awareness of her culture is a sign of another Identity from her family’s disregard for her American heritage. Dee’s uncertainty about her origins derives from her attitude towards the quilts and other household objects. The benches were physically made by her father because they could afford to purchase a decent chair. Her appreciation for them seems to reflect a desire to admire handmade items rather than a genuine interest in their heritage. Quilting is part of the culture of the family. Mama promises to give Maggie a quilt for her union to John Thomas, a local man. Mama recalls, but kept to herself, the fact that she presented Dee a family quilt before she went to college, and even that Dee didn’t want it at that time, though it was too old-fashioned

On the other hand, looking at Dee’s perspective she is the symbol of the future era, she wanted to be someone that can appreciate both world where in the present or future. She has a world very distinct from what she’s leaving behind. This paragraph allows Walker to give Dee a much more positive view. The aim is to humanize Dee as a good person. Her Polaroid and the car she returned to was markedly different from the conveniences of her mama and sister. They used ‘the benches’ instead of chairs, ‘the churn,’ and other ‘stuff.’ The negative images of black American culture represent the separation of the young generation from their group. African Americans are looking for meaning in their roots and traditions. She rejoices her historical and cultural links with the African culture. ‘Dee’s hair ‘stands straight up like a wool on a calf’ and ‘Maggie’s hair is on her navel,’ Alice Walker, pointing to two African-sounding names.

Get a custom paper now from our expert writers.

Walker demonstrates how heritage is primarily shaped by experience and traditions handed down by one generation to the next. Dee doesn’t care if she had the quilts handed on to her. She was more interested of the ideas of showing it off. There will be no part of the sacred and priceless artifacts that remain in her home. While much of Dee’s advantages are lacking, Maggie is worthy of pursuing family tradition. Maggie pointed out that she uses the quilts as a symbol of her grandma and aunt.

Works Cited:

  1. Budney, A. J., Roffman, R., Stephens, R. S., & Walker, D. (2007). Marijuana dependence and its treatment. Addiction science & clinical practice, 4(1), 4-16.
  2. National Institute of Drug Abuse. (2017). Marijuana.
  3. Pappas, S. (2014). Marijuana history: George Washington and the hemp industry. Live Science. Retrieved from
  4. Martin, B., & Booth, M. (2003). Cannabis: A history. St. Martin's Press.
  5. Ferner, M. & Matt, E. (2019). The marijuana industry could be worth $75 billion, but analysts say it's impossible to know for sure. CNBC. Retrieved from
  6. Wilcox, A. (2017). Does cannabis cure cancer? Leafly.
  7. Turbert, D. (2018). Can marijuana help treat glaucoma? American Academy of Ophthalmology. Retrieved from
  8. Volkow, N. D., Baler, R. D., Compton, W. M., & Weiss, S. R. (2014). Adverse health effects of marijuana use. New England Journal of Medicine, 370(23), 2219-2227.
  9. Crean, R. D., Crane, N. A., & Mason, B. J. (2011). An evidence based review of acute and long-term effects of cannabis use on executive cognitive functions. Journal of addiction medicine, 5(1), 1-8.
  10. Yanes-Lane, M., Winters, K. C., Moberg, D. P., & Reichert, J. (2020). Marijuana use and risk of lung cancer: a 40-year cohort study. Cancer Causes & Control, 31(1), 37-46.
Image of Dr. Charlotte Jacobson
This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Literary Analysis of Everyday Use by Alice Walker. (2023, February 09). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
“Literary Analysis of Everyday Use by Alice Walker.” GradesFixer, 09 Feb. 2023,
Literary Analysis of Everyday Use by Alice Walker. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 1 Mar. 2024].
Literary Analysis of Everyday Use by Alice Walker [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Feb 09 [cited 2024 Mar 1]. Available from:
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.
  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours
Write my essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled


Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Get Your
    Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now