Everyday Use Theme Essay

1349 Words 6 Pages
In the short story, “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, she develops her characters in the story by using a sense of rejection to bring out who they truly are. When someone feels as they aren’t welcome and aren’t the same, it can push them to pursue something different or want to change how they are perceived. Although not all of the characters in the story changed, but they all have felt denial and disdain, in one form or another. I believe Alice Walker used this sense of rejection to show how the characters really felt and show their development into who they became.
Firstly, Maggie is the more damaged character of the family. She was caught in the house fire when she was a young little girl and feels ashamed of the burn marks she has received.
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Although it sounds beneficial for her to have an education, it has proven to be negative. Dee believes that since she has been educated, she can change her true self to what she sees as right and ignore her original self. As stated earlier, Maggie was burned in the house fire, but Dee sees the fire as burning what she refused to believe she was. She would not stand for what she perceives the house represented her family to be and what they have been. Poverty, injustice, and oppression is what she believed to have plagued her family for generations and did not see what it truly was. Dee would look a white man in the eye, having no fear because she did not stand for oppression but it was not always a good thing for her, reinforcing the idea of her willingness to stare down anyone including the white man in the sentence line 12, “She was determined to stare down any disaster in her efforts.” (Walker 3). This sense of rebellion helped cause Dee to abandon her true self. Before, she was a part of Mama's family, but she always had a sense that her family's generations had worked for nothing and that she was meant to be a part of the poverty. She despised what she believed to be an insipid lifestyle and wanted to change who she was. She did not want to be associated with racism and poverty and believed changing her name and her heritage that she would feel better about herself. Mama rejected the new Dee and was not having any part of it.

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