Literary Criticism On Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" (Article Critique Sample)
THE TASK FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT WAS TO CRITIQUE aLICE WALKER'S "EVERYDAY USE". IN THE SAMPLE I HAVE TALKED ABOUT VARIOUS STYLISTIC DEVICES USED BY THE AUTHOR TO PASS MESSAGE AND TO POINT OUT THE WAY OF LIVING OF THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN IN A PARTICULAR PERIOD OF TIMEsource..
Criticism on Alice Walker's "Everyday Use"
Walker's Everyday Use is an example an example of a short story which tries to explain the African American culture. Everyday Use is one of her well known and brilliant short stories in which she addresses the quandary of African and Americans who were attempting to characterize their personalities in social terms. The story circumvents a few issues of the legacy which build a contention or conflict between the characters of the story, each with the various purpose of perspectives. Walker's utilization of "quilt" as imagery and the distinction of comprehension the legacy of the family make an exceptional story. Therefore, in this study, I am going to explain various areas including characterization, the theme of culture, and use of symbolism.
The statement "I will wait for her in the yard. .. never come inside the house" has been used to show how African American people celebrated the people from their bloodline. The statement "in the yard that Maggie and I made so clean and wavy" (88) shows the strong connection that Mrs. Johnson and her daughter Maggie to their home. To them, the place is not just a yard, but also a place which defines her life. She says, "not just a yard. It is like an extended living room." (71). Mama Johnson describes her daughters in two different ways which reflect the real African culture. Dee is more learned in the family, and the mother describes her as "â€¦lighter than Maggie, with nicer hair and a fuller figure." The reverse is said about Maggie- "Have you ever seen a lame animalâ€¦ house on the ground"- who is physically handicapped. These two descriptions paint an accurate picture of most societies which value children according to their physical well-being. Physically fit children are most preferred compared to those children who are handicapped.
The author also has utilized the art of symbolism to explain the meaning of various meaning of different phenomena. For examples, Dee's mother has described as having a "man-working hands" and ability to "kill a hog as mercilessly as a man" (72). The features represent the hard and rough kind of life that Mama Johnson had undergone through. Maggie's mother has promised to give her quilts when she gets married. Quilts represent the culture and heritage which Maggie was supposed to observe in her marriage life. The quilts also act as a symbol of history. They were made up of old uniforms, shirts, and dresses which apparently represents the individuals who helped to promote the culture.
About character characterization, Walker has used Maggie as a perfect example to describe her past when she was a young girl. Her partial vision was as a result of an eye injury caused by her brother when he was playing with a BB gun. It is the visual deformity that made her be disliked by her close friends. As a result of her incomplete visual deficiency, she began to pull back herself from her youth life and be an introvert. Being a victim to a general public which always saw the brighter side of things, Walker draws her audience's consideration on the issue through the character of Mama Johnson. Mama Johnson is a representation the old era of African American who still adheres to their old custom and standard. Being the casualty of mistreatment and servitude during the colonial period.
On the other hand, Dee is a symbol of the modern generation which described as being brave. Walker confirms this by saying that Dee" would always look anyone in the eyeâ€¦part of her nature" Education to Dee has played a critical since it has enabled her to interact with various people through learning. At the same time, education has contributed to her separation from her family. The separation is confirmed when her mama Johnson says, "she used to read to us without pity; forcing words, lies, other folks habit, whole lives upon us two, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice" (73). Dee has decided to take a different way by disregarding her family culture and embracing another culture. She has chosen to seek African culture by even going ahead and changed her name.
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