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Everyday Use

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In "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, Walker shows differences in human character, just by the way they act towards family members. The main character in the story, Mother, has two daughters that she treats very differently, and they treat her differently. One daughter looks down on Mother in a condescending manner, and the other is obedient and kind. In "Everyday Use", Walker shows that in relationships between a mother and daughters, adaptation to change can sometimes be very hard, which leads to pride and protecting what one has accomplished, and finally shows how un-appreciation can hinder these relationships.

Walker shows that in mother and daughter relationships adaptation to change can be hard in a variety of ways. First, Dee, Mother's oldest daughter, comes home to visit her mother and little sister Maggie. When she shows up, she introduces herself as "Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo" (416). Her mother is confused about why she wants to change her name, since it was the one that was passed down. Dee explains that the other name did not suit her. Now even though Mother reluctantly goes along with this new name, it is obvious that she is not used to changing names, especially if it is one of great family importance. Another character that that has a hard time changing along with Mother is Maggie. When Mother sent Dee to a good school where she could get a very good education, Dee used to come back and try to teach her lowly, uneducated family members. Maggie and her Mother were not used to this, and they were happy with the education that they had. Instead, Dee "read to us without pity; forcing words, lies other folks' habits, whole lives upon us two, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice" (413) and tried to make them learn like she is. They were offended, and felt like they were being looked down upon. This sometimes hurt their pride.

Mother was a proud woman because she had done everything for herself. She can work all day long and can do everything a man can do. She was always proud of where she came from and who she was. Dee, however, seemed to always want to either argue about it or just try and make Mother feel bad. Sometimes I don't know if she knew she was doing it, but her mother thought it was intentional most of the time. Mother built the house that they lived in, but she thought "...No doubt when Dee sees it [the house] she will want to tear it down" (414).

Dee however, always thought she was too proud to live with what her Mother provided for her. She still loved her Mother, no doubt, but she said things like "She wrote me once that no matter where we "choose" to live, she will manage to come see us" (415). Another way that Dee thought she was too proud for what her Mother provided for her was when she changed her name. She felt that it was too below her, and that it did not even deserve to be associated with a living person. After she tells her Mother her new name, and her Mother asked her what happened to her old one, she said that "She's dead...I couldn't bear it any longer, being



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