Everyday Use Symbolism Essay On Young

On By In 1

Symbolism In Everyday Use By Alice Walker

In “Everyday Use” Alice Walker used symbolism throughout the story. Symbolism is an object that has a special meaning for person. For example, Puerto Rican flag have one star and the star represent one colonies of United State. It also has three stripes. The stripes represent when you United State freedom us from Spain. The Egyptians use symbols to communicate by writing. Symbols are use in math equations, shape and sets of numbers. In the equation 1+2-4=-1, the symbols - is use for subtraction or to show a negative number, and the symbol + is use for addition.

In the story, Maggie is the younger sister and she got burn in a fire. Mama Johnson is the mother of Maggie. Maggie also has a sister name Dee. Dee has a problem. The problem is the she don’t know what is true representation of heritage. Dee is the only good educate from her family. Maggie didn’t go to school and she is very shy. Dee takes a friend name Hakim-A-Barber. Dee and hem are the black power movement. Hakim-A-Barber is very religious and he doesn’t what is true representation of heritage.

In “Everyday Use” symbolism is use a lot times. Dee is one of the main characters. Dee is a symbol of misrepresentation of heritage. As studymode explain to us that “Dee has changed her name to ‘Wangero’ to get closer to her heritages.” Dee changed her name to “Wangero” (718) because she wants to feel closer to her heritage, but her name comes from “Aunt Dicie.”Dee likes to feel better that her mom and her sister. As Voice.Yahoo explains to us “Dee makes the strangers hairdo and tinkling jewelry complete her look.” When Dee was a little girl she likes to feel better the Maggie and Mama Johnson.Dee was symbol of the black power movement. As David white state “walker use Dee to symbolize the black power movement which was characterized by bright and beautiful black who were aggressive in their demands.” Dee was part of black power movement.
Maggie is a very shy, since she got burn in the fire. She also doesn’t like to talk a lot and she always is hidden from people. As Enote explain to us “Maggie’s burned skin represent how she’s been burned by the event of her life. She’s fragile and worn down from the life she’s lived.” Maggie had a life before the fire and after. Maggie also represents her heritage. According to Writework, “Maggie the younger daughter, was an example that heritage passes from one generation to another through a learning and experience connection…” Maggie is good representation of because she learns hoe her family work. Maggie’s burned
skin can also symbolize how she feels. Eshbaugh mentions, “Around Dee, Maggie is ashamed of the scars she received in the fire that destroyed their first home.” This explains why Dee thinks she is better than Maggie.
Another character that can also show symbolism is Mama Johnson. Mama Johnson is the mother of the two sisters.Walker describes her as, “a large, big-boned woman with rough, man working hands.” (715). Mama Johnson is...

Loading: Checking Spelling

0%

Read more

“Everyday Use” by Alice Walker Essay

1422 words - 6 pages In its simplest form, a child is a product of a man and a woman but Alice Walker one of the foremost authors during the twentieth century, adds depth to her black American women by focusing on the role that race and gender played in their development. Family reunions can be times of great anticipation, excitement and happiness but for Dee, a young, beautiful, African American and our leading character, it was a reunion with underlying, unspoken...

Everyday Use by Alice Walker Essay

685 words - 3 pages Everyday Use by Alice Walker In the story 'Everyday Use', by Alice Walker, the value of ones culture and heritage are defined as a part of life that should not be looked upon as history but as a living existence of the past. Walker writes of the conflict between two Black cultures. Dee and Maggie are sisters whom do not share the same ideals. Mama is torn between two children with different perspectives of what life truly means. ...

Everyday Use by Alice Walker

938 words - 4 pages Everyday Use by Alice Walker In "Everyday Use," Alice Walker stresses the importance of heritage. She employs various ways to reveal many aspects of heritage that are otherwise hard to be noticed. In the story, she introduces two sisters with almost opposite personalities and different views on heritage: Maggie and Dee. She uses the contrast between the two sisters to show how one should accept and preserve one's heritage. Beyond the...

Everyday Use by Alice Walker

967 words - 4 pages Myeisha WalkerEnglish 1102H. PapaganJune 24, 2014In "Everyday Use", Alice Walker tells the story of a mother and her two daughters' conflicting ideas about their identities and ancestry. She personifies the different sides of culture and heritage in the characters of Mama, Dee, and Maggie, with each of them having different qualities and views on...

Everyday Use by Alice Walker

966 words - 4 pages Everyday Use by Alice Walker Through contrasting family members and views in "Everyday Use", Alice Walker illustrates the importance of understanding our present life in relation to the traditions of our own people and culture. Using careful descriptions and attitudes, Walker demonstrates which factors contribute to the values of one's heritage and culture; she illustrates that these are represented not by the possession of objects or mere...

Everyday Use, by Alice Walker

1535 words - 6 pages Everyday Use, written by Alice Walker is a short story narrated from the eyes of the character Mama. The author uses cultural symbolism throughout her work to tell the tale of struggle between a mother and her two daughters. The tale unfolds at Mama’s house during the Civil rights movement in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when African Americans were struggling to define themselves and their heritage, the dialog shows conflicting views...

Everyday Use by Alice Walker

722 words - 3 pages Everyday Use by Alice Walker In the short story Everyday Use, by Alice Walker, is narration by an African American woman in the South who is faced with the ultimate decision to whom she should give away the two quilts. Dee, her oldest daughter who is visiting from college, perceives the quilts as popular fashion and believes they should undoubtedly be given to her. Maggie, her youngest daughter, who still lives at home and understands the...

Symbolism in Two Kinds by Amy Tan and Everyday Use by Alice Walker

693 words - 3 pages In the story, Two Kinds by Amy Tan, the most predominant object would be the piano. The mother has it set in her head that her daughter, Jing-Mei can and will become a child prodigy. The mother hires a teacher that lives in their apartment building. Jing-Mei constantly feels like she is a disappointment to her mother. Her mother had very distinct goals for Jing-Mei and this is way she always felt that she was disappointing her. Jing-Mei was...

Point of View in Everyday Use by Alice Walker

561 words - 2 pages Point of View in "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker Point of view is described as the perspective from which a story is told (Literature, G25). In the story "Everyday Use" the point of view is that of first person narrator or major character. The story is told by the mother in the story. The theme of this story is that of a mother who is trying to cope with changing times and two daughters who are completely different. Having the story...

"Everyday Use" written by Alice Walker

535 words - 2 pages The story of Maggie Johnson in Alice Walker's Everyday Use is a story about a young girl who has many challenges in...

Everyday Use by Alice Walker: A Look at Symbolism and Family Values

1189 words - 5 pages Alice Walkers “Everyday Use”, is a story about a family of African Americans that are faced with moral issues involving what true inheritance is and who deserves it. Two sisters and two hand stitched quilts become the center of focus for this short story. Walker paints for us the most vivid representation through a third person perspective of family values and how people from the same environment and upbringing can become different types of...

            In her short story “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker takes up what is a recurrent theme in her work: the representation of the harmony as well as the conflicts and struggles within African-American culture. “Everyday Use” focuses on an encounter between members of the rural Johnson family. This encounter––which takes place when Dee (the only member of the family to receive a formal education) and her male companion return to visit Dee’s mother and younger sister Maggie––is essentially an encounter between two different interpretations of, or approaches to, African-American culture.  Walker employs characterization and symbolism to highlight the difference between these interpretations and ultimately to uphold one of them, showing that culture and heritage are parts of daily life.
            The opening of the story is largely involved in characterizing Mrs. Johnson, Dee’s mother and the story’s narrator. More specifically, Mrs. Johnson’s language points to a certain relationship between herself and her physical surroundings: she waits for Dee “in the yard that Maggie and I made so clean and wavy” (88). The emphasis on the physical characteristics of the yard, the pleasure in it manifested by the word “so,” points to the attachment that she and Maggie have to their home and to the everyday practice of their lives. The yard, in fact, is “not just a yard. It is like an extended living room” (71), confirming that it exists for her not only as an object of property, but also as the place of her life, as a sort of expression of herself. Her description of herself likewise shows a familiarity and comfort with her surroundings and with herself: she is “a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands” (72)—in other words, she knows the reality of her body and accepts it, even finding comfort (both physical and psychological) in the way that her “fat keeps [her] hot in zero weather” (72). Mrs. Johnson is fundamentally at home with herself; she accepts who she is, and thus, Walker implies, where she stands in relation to her culture.
            Mrs. Johnson’s daughter Maggie is described as rather unattractive and shy: the scars she bears on her body have likewise scarred her soul, and, as a result, she is retiring, even frightened. Mrs. Johnson admits, in a loving manner, that “like good looks and money, quickness passed her by” (73). She “stumbles” as she reads, but clearly Mrs. Johnson thinks of her as a sweet person, a daughter with whom she can sing songs at church. Most importantly, however, Maggie is, like her mother, at home in her traditions, and she honors the memory of her ancestors; for example, she is the daughter in the family who has learned how to quilt from her grandmother.
Dee, however, is virtually Maggie’s opposite. She is characterized by good looks, ambition, and education (Mrs. Johnson, we are told, collects money at her church so that Dee can attend school). Dee’s education has been extremely important in forging her character, but at the same time it has split her off from her family. Mamma says, “She used to read to us without pity; forcing words, lies, other folks’ habits, whole lives upon us two, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice” (73). Dee, in other words, has moved towards other traditions that go against the traditions and heritage of her own family: she is on a quest to link herself to her African roots and has changed her name to WangeroLeewanikaKemanjo. In doing so, in attempting to recover her “ancient” roots, she has at the same time denied, or at least refused to accept, her more immediate heritage, the heritage that her mother and sister share.
            The actions Walker’s characters take, as well as their physical attributes, are symbolic of their relation to their culture. Dee’s male companion, for example, has taken a Muslim name and now refuses to eat pork and collard greens, thus refusing to take part in the traditional African-American culture. Mrs. Johnson, meanwhile, has “man-working hands” and can “kill a hog as mercilessly as a man” (72); clearly this detail is meant to indicate a rough life, with great exposure to work. Symbolic meaning can also be found in Maggie’s skin: her scars are literally the inscriptions upon her body of the ruthless journey of life. Most obviously—and most importantly—the quilts that Mrs. Johnson has promised to give Maggie when she marries are highly symbolic, representing the Johnsons’ traditions and cultural heritage. These quilts were “pieced by Grandma Dee and then Big Dee “(76), both figures in family history who, unlike the present Dee, took charge in teaching their culture and heritage to their offspring. The quilts themselves are made up of fragments of history, of scraps of dresses, shirts, and uniforms, each of which represents those people who forged the family’s culture, its heritage, and its values.
            Most importantly, however, these fragments of the past are not simply representations in the sense of art objects; they are not removed from daily life. What is most crucial about these quilts—and what Dee does not understand—is that they are made up of  daily life, from materials that were lived in. This, in essence, is the central point of “Everyday Use”: that the cultivation and maintenance of its heritage are necessary to each social group’s self-identification, but that also this process, in order to succeed, to be real, must be part of people’s use every day. After all, what is culture but what is home to us, just as Mrs. Johnson’s yard is home to her.

Work Cited

Walker, Alice. “Everyday Use.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed.       X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 8th ed. New York: Longman, 2002. 88-95.

—Juan R. Velazquez 

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *