Everyday Use Literary Analysis

Topics: Family, Short story, Selfishness Pages: 4 (1300 words) Published: October 8, 2008
Mother vs. Daughter
In the short story called “Everyday Use,” by Alice Walker, the mother daughter conflict theme is portrayed throughout the whole story. The oldest daughter Dee constantly believes that she is better than the rest of the family causing a family feud about who gets the cherished quilt. Dee has always been on a pedestal over her family and she soon finds out that it is no longer the case. Once she finds this out conflict arises. The biggest conflict lies between Mama and Dee. This is clearly illustrated by Dee’s high standards, selfish behavior, and lack of knowledge about her family’s heritage.

Dee sets impossible standards for her mother, causing Mama to feel inferior. Dee forces Mama to be the way Dee would like, kind of like a television show. “On TV mother and child embrace and smile in each other’s faces. Sometimes the mother and father weep, the child wraps them in her arms and leans across the table and tell how she would have made it without her help” (Walker 288). This is the exact opposite of how Dee acts towards her. Mama knows that Dee will never embrace in her like the people in television shows. Another flaw of Dee’s is that she constantly acts embarrassed of her mother and her heritage, in general. Dee’s high standards drive her family away from her. She is relentlessly picking at something that needs to be fixed. She is sometimes even hypocritical about these fixings. Mama says “she pins on my dress a large orchid, even though she has told me once that she thinks orchids are tacky flowers” (Walker 288). She does it just to get on peoples nerves. Everything must be first class in her life. “But even the first glimpse of leg out of the car tells me it is Dee. Her feet were always near-looking, as if God himself had shaped them with a certain style” (Walker 290). In a way Mama puts Dee on a pedestal by comparing her with God.

Dee’s high standards are the cause of her selfishness. She wants to live in...

Cited: Tutor, Nancy. Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use.” The Explicator: 1993, 51:2, 125-128. ProQuest. I.D. Weeks Library, University of South Dakota. proquest/results.html>
Walker, Alice. “Everyday Use.” The Curious Writer. Pearson Education Incorporation: 2007, 287-294.
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