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Through Her Eyeys

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Through Her Eyes

The short story, "Everyday Use, by Alice Walker, has the Mother of the story as its narrator. Walker is able to use the mother's wisdom of her family and their background to illustrate the main themes while allowing the readers to understand and get involved with the characters on a more personal level. By telling the story through the eyes of Momma, Walker encourages us to see a mother's point of view of her families heritage and how it will always be apart of her life despite the changing times.

Mother is a very strong, objective, and clear-sighted individual who knows exactly who she is as a person, "...I am a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands...I can kill a hog as mercilessly as a man. My fat keeps me hot in zero weather" (141). She lives with her youngest daughter, Maggie, in a three room house with a tin roof and holes in the walls for windows. This is the second house her family has lived in; the first one was destroyed by a fire that left Maggie's body scarred for life. Maggie, because of this, is an incredibly shy girl who always seems to fall into the shadows when Dee, her older sister, comes around, as if she is trying to escape from Dee's quick judgment of her mother and her. Dee is an educated but ruthless college girl who judges her family too quickly when she does not truly understand the heritage which makes them who they are.

Mother, despite her daughter Dee, always keeps a clear-sight. She is able to recognize her own daughter Dee's weaknesses in judgment caused by her lack of knowledge in her family's heritage. She does not let her love for her daughters stand in the way of what is right in the situation at hand. When her daughter Dee asks to be called Wangero because, "[Dee]'s dead" (144), mother stays strong and goes along with it even practicing its pronunciation. She also stays very objective when Wangero packs up the family churn top that has been passed down from generation to generation and has so many memories held in each one of it's nicks and grooves it has acquired throughout the years. Finally, when Wangero decides she wants the two handmade quilts her Aunt Dee and Grandmother had put together, Mother keeps a level-head and refuses to give them to her. Mother, after some debate, "...hugged Maggie to me, then dragged her into the room, snatched the quilts out of Miss Wangero's hands and dumped them into Maggie's lap" (146). Mother understands her daughter Dee does not want the quilts for their memories and for their use; she knows Dee wants them for their value and so they can be admired on a wall in her house to show off her African roots; not to celebrate them. Through this entire situation, we are still being told the story through



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