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Character symbolism in Everyday Use by Alice Walker


Everyday Use is a work of art by Alice Walker that was published early in her writing career. Critics have referred to this work as one of the best of her works. Writers of literary works of art use different literary styles in their attempt to communicate themes. For instance, Alice Walker in this story uses her characters and characterization symbolically to communicate a different themes. It is arguable that the three main characters in her story are essential in communicating underlying themes. For instance, Dee is an egotistical and selfish character (Walker and Christian 22). She has been used symbolically to represent the misguided and confused youthful African Americans during the 196s and 1970s. She conforms to the worst of American culture, disrespects, and rejects her heritage.

Dee, on the other hand, is a good-hearted and simple character. Maggie is a bearer of tradition, sacredness, and appreciates her heritage. She is determined to maintain a strong association with her heritage. She has been used to symbolize those African Americans who aim at passing their heritage with no diminution between age groups. Mama, on the other hand, though an uneducated character, is practical (Walker and Christian 34). Her character differentiates her from her daughters. She has been used to represent the significance and complexity of the African-American culture.

From the above discussion, it is arguable that the main theme in the story is the significance of heritage. While Mama and Maggie are backward and uneducated, they understand and appreciate the family heritage. Dee has acquired all world education, but cannot understand the importance of family heritage. Some critics have argued that Walker wrote this story intending to challenge African Americans to appreciate their heritage. It is, however, arguable that the story challenges not only African Americans but also all humans to respect and acknowledge their heritage as well as that of others.

Work cited
Walker, Alice, and Christian Barbara. Everyday Use. new York: Rutgers University Press. 1994. 1-229. Print.

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