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Everyday Use Essay | Critical Essay #2

This Study Guide consists of approximately 40 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Everyday Use.
This section contains 1,596 words
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Critical Essay #2

In the following essay, Tuten concentrates on analyzing the language of "Everyday Use" and relates how the characters' words reveal their personalities.

Commentaries on Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" typically center on Mama's awakening to one daughter's superficiality and to the other's deep-seated understanding of heritage. Most readers agree that when Mama takes the quilts from Dee and gives them to Maggie, she confirms her younger daughter's self-worth: metaphorically, she gives Maggie her voice. Elaine Hedges, for example, refers to the "reconciliation scene" in which "Mama's gift of the family quilts to Maggie empowers the previously silenced and victimized daughter." The text underscores such a reading by stating that immediately after the incident Maggie sits with her "mouth open."

This story is distinctive, however, in that Walker stresses not only the importance of language but also the destructive effects of its misuse. Clearly, Dee privileges language over silence, as...

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This section contains 1,596 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Everyday Use Study Guide
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Everyday Use from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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