Everyday Use (Literature)

Everyday Use
By Alice Walker

  Well? From today began, as long as you see the category “Literature,” the review might be a little bit more serious. “A Bit.”

  So the funny thing about literature is that you’ll never find it interesting unless you look into it. Everyday Use is a short story by Alice Walker, and…I figure if you know The Color Purple you’ll know her. But in case you don’t know, she’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and a “womanist.” This short story was given by my Literature class as a class material.

  Narrative by “Mama,” it says the story behind a black family during 1960s. How they struggle to send at least one of their children for higher education and makes them better. Well…that’s the back ground. This story was about Mama, and her two daughters, Dee and Maggie, who had a complete different personalities in this story. While Dee was a confident, perhaps…selfish girl, Maggie is a shy one, embarrassed by her own burning scar. So after a long long while without hearing Dee’s news since she went to college, Mama received a letter by Dee that she’s coming home, along with a friend. However, what’s the true meaning of Dee’s returning? Was she coming back for her family? That should remain a question.

  I really like how it describes the two girls and Mama herself. It really brings us into the life of The Color in 1960s, how their traditional culture blind into their lives after being forced to transport to the USA long time ago. And, it’s a great material for anyone interested in Civil Right Movement during that time, when all the Color stood up and fought for their human right. Besides, it shows us how all the surrounding can change a person. Dee was described as a confident girl, but at the same time, she hated her life at home and hated those cultures. You can see that easily in the story. However, after she went back from college, she totally changed. And as we suspected, that might be something to do with the Movement. Yet, did she really change? Did she really value those items because of the cultural meaning behind them or the value brought by the Movement? In fact, I’ve watched the short film as well, and I think they all forgot one thing: even though you’re protecting your traditional culture, that doesn’t mean wearing all your traditional tribe clothes and speaking those tribe languages! The trust is, no matter how much you want to deny the past, it is impossible to throw away all the changes brought by the outsider all those years ago. It has already became “African-American culture.”

  And…well, the point is, if you love all those culture meaning behind those colonized country and the influence brought by the Civil Right Movement, I think you’ll like this book.


  The True value of art is beyond measure. From Alice Walker’s Everyday Use, we can see Dee seek those traditional tools and stuffs as priceless art. But is it the value of those things simply judge by money? According to Maggie: “I can’member Grandma Dee without the quilts.” Maggie and Mama appreciated those quilts and dasher because of the memory behind them, rather than the value brought by The Civil-Right Movement. To sum up, the true value of those historical items is behind the culture, the history, and the memory given by us.


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