Symbolism In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

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Register to read the introduction… Maggie is a symbol of tradition; she’s learned her heritage as she knows it from Grandma Dee and Big Dee and plans to continue on with it as she says “’I can ‘member Grandma Dee without the quilts’” (par. 74) showing that she will always remember the times they had together. Mama is also seen as a character of symbolic importance because of her ways of seeing situations throughout the story. She talks about a dream she had, going on a game show and re-uniting with her daughter when she herself weighs one hundred pounds lighter. Farrell reminds us, “It is important to remember, thought, that this Johnny Carson daydream is Mama’s fantasy of a mother-child reunion, not Dee’s”. Something else that goes un-noticed is that Dee and Mama both do not truly understand their heritage. It is the common thought that Maggie and Mama live a life of “simplicity” (Farrell) and Dee a “shallow…manipulative” (Farrell) one, and that Mama and Maggie understand their heritage and Dee does not. Although, both Mama and Dee do not fully understand: “Dee has much to learn about honoring her particular and individual family history, but Mama has much to learn about the history of African Americans in general, and about fighting oppression.” …show more content…
In a way “she had a style of her own” (par. 12), making her own “green suit” (par. 12) and wearing her matching black pumps. She was doing her best to conform to the modern age and represent herself as way more than the country girl she was born. When she comes home and sits down to dinner she is quick to tell “’Mama…Not Dee, Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo!’” (par. 25) saying that she couldn’t “’bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me’” (par. 27). Moving away “ten, twelve years” (par. 10) ago dramatically altered her outlook, seeing the prejudice’s against the blacks, she now has turned to the Nation of Islam and changed her name because of this belief. A symbol that further shows the distance she is putting from her family history. Her attitude towards the rest of the family is also a symbol of the way different environments can affect our lifestyle. Wangero grew up in the ‘60’s and was prone to seeing the black and white hate crimes and forced to develop a “tough skin” (Cowart) sort of attitude to get by. She grew into this tough attitude and always got what she wanted until Mama said “Take one or two of the others” (par. 78) not these. This attitude she thinks will obtain anything she desires has finally failed her and she will leave empty handed as a theme that unless you’re nice, you’re not going to get what you

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