Alice Walker 's Everyday Use Essay

1143 Words Sep 17th, 2016 5 Pages
Alice Walker’s short story, “Everyday Use” presents a pragmatic perspective of heritage and family. Taking place during the civil rights movement, while centering on the experiences of an African American family, the setting has great relevance in constructing underlying themes. This short story composes a theme which examines social structures part in shaping a person’s identity. Moreover, acknowledging family’s role as a social structure, as well as Walker’s background, will contribute to further analyzing this theme. An important concept of Alice Walker’s short story is the idea that social structures take part in shaping a person’s sense of self. Narrated by an unnamed woman of color who grew up in a time before the civil rights act, this story focuses on her family during the civil rights era. Walker’s narrator continuously demonstrates a passive nature. While speaking highly of her daughters, she is somewhat self deprecating; remaining humble and unassuming. Throughout the story, she alludes to the implications of prejudice which colored people endure. She mentions, “I never had an education myself. After second grade the school was closed down. Don 't ask me why: in 1927 colored asked fewer questions than they do now.” Given this passage, it becomes apparent that the narrator’s subservient nature was, in part, a product of an environment riddled with institutionalized oppression. It is likely that her unassuming nature was a means of self preservation in a system…

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