Everyday Use

The Characters in Walker’s “Everyday Use”

Mama, Maggie, and Dee Johnson are Alice Walker’s major characters in the story “Everyday Use”. Dee (Wangero) is the protagonist of the story representing the principal character of the literary work. Mama and Maggie are the antagonist of the work representing opposition against the protagonist (Dee). Walker presents Dee, the older daughter as a figure that represents heritage as materialistic. She presents Mama and Maggie, the younger sister of Dee (Wangero) as an example that heritage in both form and knowledge travels from generation to generation through experiences and a learning connection. Walker shows in the story the mistake by some by putting the significance of heritage in material objects. When Dee (Wangero) comes home to visit her mother and sister, the contrast of them progresses a conflict because Dee uses the significance of heritage in her desire for racial heritage. The mother of two daughters, one self-seeking and stylish, the other timid and caring passes to the reader its true definition of heritage.

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The mother in the story “Mama” (who is the narrator of the story) represented generations of the Johnson women heritage. The story is seen from the point of view of mama. Mama is a strong woman who can do all the work a man can do. “In real life, I am a large, big boned woman with rough, man working hands (444)”. “I can kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man (444)”. Mama’s insight of herself was “living in past times” type of life. “My fat keeps me hot in zero degree weather (444)”. As mama awaits for her daughters visits, she daydreams about of television shows when families are reunited. In her fantasy, she weighs less and is a brighter complexion. She immediately comes back to reality of slaughtering hogs and cattle and preparing meats for the winter. Mama has a certain point of view of how she views her two daughters. One she views as weak and fragile. The other one.