Everyday Use Essay: Sisters with Nothing in Common
- :: 1 Works Cited
- Length: 714 words (2 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
Sisters with Nothing in Common in Everyday Use
When two children are brought up by the same parent in the same environment, one might logically conclude that these children will be very similar, or at least have comparable qualities. In Alice Walker's "Everyday Use," however, this is not the case. The only thing Maggie and Dee share in common is the fact that they were both raised by the same woman in the same home. They differ in appearance, personality, and ideas that concern the family artifacts.
Maggie is not as attractive as Dee. She is a thin and awkward girl. Her
mother notes "good looks passed her by" (88). Furthermore, she carries
herself like someone with low self-esteem, "chin on chest, eyes on ground"
(87). On the other hand, Dee is an attractive woman. Her mother describes
Dee as having, "nice hair and a full figure" (87). Dee takes pride in the
her appearance. She dresses in fashionable clothes. When Dee arrives for her
visit, her mother says, "Even her feet were always neat-looking" (88).
Besides their appearances, Maggie and Dee have unique personalities.
When Maggie is first introduced in the story, she is nervous about her
sister's visit. In fact, Dee's arrival makes Maggie so uncomfortable that
she tries to flee to the safety of the house (88). Maggie is also
intimidated by Dee, as shown when Maggie is unable to confront Dee about the
quilts. Maggie gives in and says that Dee may have the quilts because she is
not used to "winning" (91). Unlike Maggie, Dee is a bold young woman (88).
As a young girl, Dee has never been afraid to express herself. Her mother
remembers that "she would always look anyone in the eye. Hesitation was no
part of her nature" (87). Dee also shows herself to be selfish when she sets
her sights on the butter churn. Dee does not seem to care that her family is
still using the churn. She states that she will "display part of it in her
alcove, and do something artistic with the rest of it" (90).
The family artifacts are important to both Maggie and Dee, but for
different reasons. Maggie values the family quilts for their sentiment and
How to Cite this Page
| A Common Man: Johnny Cash Essay example - "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash", the well-known, traditional, and famous words used by Cash before every show he ever played. Johnny Cash was a musical icon who positively impacted not only country music, but other genres as well. John R. Cash (Johnny) was born in1932 to a poor family in Kingsland, Arkansas. Born the fourth of seven children, Cash began working beside his siblings and parents on cotton fields at the age of five (Johnny Cash Columbia). This is where his musical influences began. His mother, Carrie Rivers Cash, would sing hymns and other inspirational music to her children while they would toil long, hot days farming cotton.... [tags: musical icon, the tennessee trio]|
:: 8 Works Cited
| Common Sense: An Essay - “C.S. man, common sense.” was a phrase told to me quite frequently in my life. In fact, the idea of using your head was a common theme throughout my childhood, and even now still as an adolescent. Common sense is something that most people lack in their daily lives, even I fall short of having total common sense throughout my life. Unlike some traits common sense is something people do not think about because that requires them to think. Our society as a whole has even become so dependent on other sources for information they have become brainless.... [tags: history, behavior]|
:: 5 Works Cited
|Blindness and Sight - Nothing and Blindness in King Lear Essays - Themes of Nothing and Blindness in King Lear Many of the passages of King Lear, particularly those between the characters of Lear, Kent, the Fool, and Cordelia, all share a common theme. The theme of nothing, as well as the theme of blindness, echoes throughout the play. King Lear is in many ways about nothing. However, Kent, the Fool, and Cordelia make him more than nothing by serving faithfully, speaking bluntly, and loving unconditionally. The first occurrence of the imagery of nothing takes place between Lear and Cordelia.... [tags: King Lear essays]||802 words|
|Alice Walker and Everyday use Essay - February ninth 1944, it was a dark and stormy night… well maybe not. Regardless of the weather this is the date of Alice Walkers birth in Eatonton Georgia. Born to the sharecroppers Willie Lee and Minnie Grant Walker, who had already been blessed (cursed) with seven children, Alice was their eighth and final bundle of joy. She led a fairly normal life till she was eight years old and her elder brother accidentally (or was it?) shot her in the eye with a BB gun. This unfortunate incident caused Alice to lose the use of one eye.... [tags: essays research papers]||731 words|
|A Freudian Analysis of The Fatal Sisters Essay - A Freudian Analysis of The Fatal Sisters When the psychoanalytical approach is applied to Thomas Gray's "The Fatal Sisters,", each of Freud's three main theories are glaringly apparent. A major factor in the poem's psychoanalytical grisly texture is that the poem is sung by the giants at the loom as they weave. The language they use not only reflects upon the characters, but it offers new insight for Freudian analysis. The most obvious example of Freud's theories is phallic and yonic symbolism.... [tags: The Fatal Sisters]||668 words|
|Nothing Must Spoil This Visit by Shauna Singh Baldwin and Everyday Use by Alice Walker - Nothing Must Spoil This Visit by Shauna Singh Baldwin and Everyday Use by Alice Walker In “Nothing Must Spoil This Visit” by Shauna Singh Baldwin and “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, two pairs of sisters are you’re average loveable sisters. Sisters can be blood related or by marriage. “Is solace anywhere more comforting than in the arms of a sister?” Many sisters do feel this way about each other. However, Chaya and Janet in "nothing must spoil this visit, who are sister in laws, but are not the best of friends.... [tags: Alice Walker Singh Sisters]||1357 words|
| Essay on Feminist and Dialogic Approaches in The Fatal Sisters - Feminist and Dialogic Approaches in The Fatal Sisters Thomas Gray's method of transforming monological poems into intense psyche films is fascinating. While reading The Fatal Sisters, readers can actually engage in a mind performance because of the choices of words, vivid actions, social aspects, and mythology that Gray displays here. The feminist and dialogic approaches, applied together, help shape the realm of this poem into a complex event in history that still takes place today. The feminist approach reveals many things about this poem that would otherwise be overlooked.... [tags: The Fatal Sisters]|
:: 2 Works Cited
|Nothing in Common Essay - Nothing in Common After 19 years of marriage I decided it was time to try living on my own. It took another year and a half for me to actually do it. I had married my husband when I was barely out of high school and promptly gave birth to three sons in rapid succession. I won't go into the details of those 19 years. My husband was a good husband and an okay father. After about 10 years I realized that we were two completely different people with absolutely nothing in common except for our sons.... [tags: Personal Narrative Essays]||684 words|
|Shakespeare's Use of Deception in Much Ado About Nothing Essay - Shakespeare's Use of Deception in Much Ado About Nothing In the Play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ the role of deceit is an important one that is played to its fullest. The play is based upon deliberate deceptions and numerous schemes that are used to manipulate the thoughts of nearly every character and the characters deceive themselves by putting on a different public facade instead of showing their true feelings and personalities. The play also involves an elaborate arrangement of trickery to achieve a humorous effect that perhaps portrays deceit as something that is not necessarily corrupt, but rather as a means to an end.... [tags: Papers Shakespeare Much Ado Nothing Essays]||1460 words|
|Thomson Highway's The Rez Sisters Essay - Thomson Highway's The Rez Sisters Works Cited Not Included The play The Rez Sisters is written by one of Canada's most celebrated playwrights, Tomson Highway. Highway was born in 1951 in northwestern Manitoba. He went on to study at the University of Manitoba and graduated from the University of Western Ontario, with honors in Music and English. Native Literature is inspired by 'contemporary social problems facing native Canadians today; alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, wife battering, family violence, the racism of the justice system, loneliness, rejection, youth awareness, as well as modern-day environmental issues.';(P.... [tags: Thomson Highway Rez Sisters Essays Papers]||1309 words|
Everyday Use Sisters Only Thing Young Woman Maggie Looks Chest Artifacts Butter Feet
usefulness. She learned how to quilt from her grandmother and aunt who made
the quilts. Her mother has been saving the quilts for Maggie to use after
she is married. The quilts are meant to be used and appreciated everyday.
Maggie hints that she sees the quilts as a reminder of her grandmother and
aunt when she says, "I can 'member them without the quilts" (91).
Dee also values the family quilts. She sees the quilts as priceless
objects to own and display. Going off to college has brought Dee a new
awareness of her heritage. She returns wearing ethnic clothing and has
changed her name to "Wangero." She explains to her mother and Maggie that
changing her name is the way to disassociate herself from "the people who
oppress [her]'? (89). Before she went away to college, the quilts were not
good enough for her. Her mother had offered her one of the quilts, but she
stated, "They were old-fashioned and out of style" (91). Now she is
determined to have the quilts to display in her home. Dee believes that she
can appreciate the value of the quilts more than Maggie, who will "be
backward enough to put them to everyday use" (9l). Dee wants the quilts for
more materialistic reasons. She considers the quilts "priceless" (91).
Indeed, Maggie and Dee are two sisters who have turned out very
differently. Maggie is awkward and unattractive, while Dee is confident and
beautiful. Maggie is content with her simple life, while Dee wants to have
an extravagant lifestyle. Maggie is nervous and intimidated by Dee, who, in turn, is bold and
selfish. Maggie values the sentiment of the family quilts, while Dee wants
to display them as a symbol of her heritage. Walker has shown that children
raised in the same environment can and many times do turn into unique individuals.
Walker, Alice. "Everyday Use." Literature- An Introduction to Reading and Writing 5th ed. Eds. Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1998. 86-92.
Dee Johnson superficially searches for her African heritage. In “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, the author suggests Dee’s search for her heritage is artificial. Despite her education, Dee has no appreciation of her true inheritance.
Throughout her life, Dee was the pretty and intelligent Johnson girl. Her attitude toward her sister and mother was negative. To Dee, her home and her family were an embarrassment. When her house burned, Dee stood and watched rather than show concern for her sister Maggie who was severely injured.
While she lived at home, Dee would read to her mother and sister, but not for their enjoyment but to make them feel her superiority. Mama’s church provides the money for Dee’s education which she appears not to really appreciate. During and after her time in college, Dee never visited her home because she was ashamed of her family.
The story centers on Dee’s return visit. Both her mother and sister anticipate her coming by sitting out on the lawn awaiting her arrival. The visit is nothing like what her mother had hoped for in her dreams. Dee has changed her name to Wangero, a black muslin name. Everything about her is shiny and yet unreal. She tells her mother that Dee is dead, despite the fact that she was named after her grandmother. Naturally, Dee has ulterior motives for her visit.
“Oh, Mama,” she cried. “I never knew how lovely these benches are. You can feel the rump prints,” she said…Then she gave a sigh and her hand closed over Grandma’s Dee butter dish. “That’s it. I knew there was something I wanted to ask you if I could have.”
Dee has always wanted something. With no regard for her mother, Dee wants to take things that have come from her relatives. Lacking in respect and with no genuine understanding of the importance of the things that her mother has saved, Dee places no value on her mother’s things as a part of her family legacy. Dee wants what she wants and that is to decorate her house with the black heritage items so that it will be fashionable.
When Dee rummages through her mother’s trunk, her attitude shines through. When she left for school, her mother offered her a quilt which Dee refused. Now she wants to take the quilts that were handmade by her grandmother and mother.
They are important to Maggie and her mother because they understand that the cloth came from clothes of their loved ones all the way back to the civil war. In addition, the grandmother who made the quilt was the one for which Dee was unnamed. Dee just wants to hang the quilts on the wall.
For the first time, her mother refuses her something. Mama tells her that she promised the quilts to Maggie. Shocked, Dee is immediately antagonistic.
“Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts!” she said. “She’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use.”
Dee is so incensed that her mother will not give into her that she decides to leave. Ironically, she tells her family that they do not understand their heritage. She tells her sister that she ought to try to do something with her life.
Then, she gets in the car and leaves. In her selfishness, Dee has shown herself to completely lack in respect and consideration for her mother or sister. Her actions and gestures indicate that her only reason for coming home was to take things with no thought of the hurt that she might inflict.