Essay: Everyday Use by Alice Walker

Sample Essay

In Everyday Use by Alice Walker the story once again takes place in the Deep South. Though the actual area where it takes place is not mentioned. Rather, it is simply known that it takes place around the 1960s during the era of the Black Pride Movement. It is only known that Mrs. Johnson lives in a simple home with a roof of tin in the rural south. The setting itself is essential to the plot as it provides the stark contrast to each characters way of life. Dee the oldest sibling moves to the city and becomes educated in the ways of the world and learns about a life which is completely different from the simple existence her mother and her sister, Maggie enjoy. The setting allows for the two worlds of sophistication and rural to collide and shows the attitudes and cultural roots of the Johnson family (Walker, 1994).

While Dee grew up in the same household as a child, her rejection of her culture and heritage was one of the primary reasons for her being sent away by her mother. When she returns from the city she wants to embrace her culture to the point where she demands her family calls her Wangero. However, her insistence is merely a new trend. Unlike her sister Dee does not truly care about her home and the people in it. This point can especially be seen when Maggie allows Dee to come into her home and sacrifices the churn because it is what her sister wants and she sees herself as inferior. It is only when Dee wants the quilt which her mother wanted to give Maggie on her wedding day that she fights for herself and her heritage she strongly believes in. The mother of the two Mrs. Johnson also changes throughout the story. It can be seen in the beginning how she favors one daughter over the other because she does not believe in Maggie’s worth. She eventually fights for Maggie’s claim to her heritage realizing that she deserves it more since she understands its meaning (Walker, 1994).

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