Essay on The Character of Mama in Alice Walker’s Everyday Use

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“I am a large, big boned woman with rough, man-working hands” Mama describes of herself in the short story Everyday Use by Alice Walker. Mama, who additionally takes the role of narrator, is a lady who comes from a wealth of heritage and tough roots. She is never vain, never boastful and most certainly never selfish. She speaks only of her two daughters who she cares deeply for. She analyzes the way she has raised them and how much she has cared too much or too little for them, yet most of all how much they value their family. Mama never speaks of herself, other than one paragraph where she describes what she does. “My fat keeps me hot in zero weather. I can work outside all day, breaking ice to get water for washing” (Walker, 60). She …show more content…
For her daughter to have no faith, no value in family heirlooms, is questionable! To answer this question, one must first look at how Mama reacts to previous events with Dee. In one situation in describing Dee’s high acquisitive approach to life, Mama recalls, “Often I fought off the temptation to shake her. At sixteen she had a style of her own: and knew what style was” (Walker, 61). Notice that Mama does not confront her daughter and instead she “fought off the temptation.” In another scene, where their house burns down and Dee has no remorse towards the situation, Mama proclaims, “Why don’t you do a dance around the ashes? I’d wanted to ask her. She had hated the house that much” (Walker, 61). The key comment in the last sentence is “I’d wanted to ask her.” Mama wanted to but she didn’t. Which then raises the question why did she not confront Dee? Certainly, there are probably several different ways to answer this question, however one that stands out is the idea that Mama was insecure of her education. “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 that they do now” (Walker, 61). She claims she was raised to be silent, or ask “fewer questions”. For historically, readers know that the early 1900’s was a remorse time with little

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