The theme of the story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker
The title of Everyday Use by Walker combines various meanings apart from being a suitable beginning. Actually, various important themes of the story are depicted by the issue of how things are carried out on an everyday basis. For instance, the main observable issues affecting the everyday utilization of items and the disagreements around them are those of the quilts. According to Wangero the quilts should not be in fact be used for warmth. She insists that their everyday use is covered up in presenting a cultural or historical ideal and according to her it is something to show off. The subject of daily use also touches other matters. These include the worth of reading, considering race and class. The thesis statement of this essay is the significant of the title of the story Everyday Use by Walker (Smith, 2010).
To both Dee and her mother traditions in “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker are very vital, but they have diverse meanings. According to Dee’s mother and her sister Maggie, traditions are made on a basis of hereditary objects and customs of thinking. According to her daughter, traditions are things that do not have everyday use and are tainted by the past. Mainly, in Everyday Use all these traditions are all related to learning and education and the way of thinking infatuated by each character. This has shaped the traditions that they depend on. In terms of this investigation and outline of themes in Everyday Use it is important to note that that these two ways of thoughts about African American traditions produce the tension in the short story. Though there is no assumed right way of viewing these traditions expressed, the set up of the story gives the reader the urge to think about both sides (Smith, 2010).
In the short story by Walker, ethnicity included in learning goes far beyond ways of reasoning about issues or objects. They also notify the way each character shows her outer individuality. For example, Dee’s mother accepts that she is a solid and big boned. This is the kind of a woman who was made for work which is not acceptable by her daughter. This is because her daughter has been around more learned people. Her daughter is informed and therefore does not find that work nice-looking. She goes on to argue that it does not suit her model of what a current black woman should appear like. Her mother is conscious of this and she says that if she were to appear on television, she would be the way her daughter want her to be. She goes on to characterize her image as a hundred pounds lighter and her skin like an uncooked barley pancake. Due to her tradition of education in the modern white influenced lifestyles, Dee finds that her mother does not fall under what her education has taught her. Once more, there is the traditional conflict between what is fine-looking and beautiful at odds with what is considered practical and constructive. The theme of the story clearly depicts that there is no right or wrong way for a person to be. The author however shows how these traditions are at odds with each other (Smith, 2010).
According to Dee’s notion of modernity, coming home with her huge gold hoop jewelry and brilliant lengthy dresses is a revelation that her traditions have altered. Her mother does not agree with this and really finds it hard to get comfortable with this adjust saying. She admits that the way of living has really changed for young people but fails to accept the changes. To substantiate her point, she says that when she was sixteen she had a unique style of her own and understood what style was. She admits that often, she fought off the persuasion to be shaken. Dee’s mother thinks they should be functional and not ornamental just as with the case of the quilts. Dee on the other hand due to her diverse educational traditions is convinced that they should not go to use and should represent something. The chief instance of traditions creating tension as a result of education in the story by Walker is that there was a fault with the naming system. This is evident when Dee changes the name after finding out that there was a fault with her mother’s tradition of naming kids after relatives. She notifies her mother about her name change and insists that she can never be named after her oppressors (Smith, 2010).
Her mother is confused about this change of name and does not accept it. According to her, names are derived from a tradition and are not supposed to be altered. In this conflict of tradition versus modernism is clearly depicted Dee’ mother believes that names linked different family members. This is a primary case of educational traditions at chances since Dee has been taught to think the social and political implications of her name. She has been made to bond importance to these while her mother’s traditions have depended on naming children after other family members. The story shows conflict of understanding for different group of people with different reasons for defending their stand. Although it is not clear if the writer attempts to articulate the belief that one set of traditions is better than the other. In its place, it looks like she is trying to demonstrate how one’s education affects one’s thoughts about traditions.
The story shows that traditions are changeable and can be altered over time if the right influences are present. It seems also to depict that traditions are embedded in everyday use and cannot be ruled out. It is also clear that both the structure and meaning of the story are contained in the title. For Dee her purpose is taken care by reasoning decisively about her past since she is not vigorously needed for work on her family’s land. For Dee’s mother, nevertheless, these thoughts have no purpose and it is best, following her situation and influences, to center on that which is favorable to daily exploits. The story ends with the title taking on additional importance as we view that traditions are entrenched in their employ in a given circumstances and that they are subject to alteration. The story gives the relevance of its title by relating every day activities with the historical time and the particular situation connecting to it.
The question of race is perceived and discussed in a different way in the country compared to urban settings. This concern is one of the major themes throughout the story Everyday Use by Walker. The rural setting portrays Dee’s mother as engrossed in on the thought of hard work. Her mother and her sister Maggie do not possess the time, knowledge, or motivation to think profoundly about race, racism, or equality. Dee’s mother frankly admits that she would not even have the ability to look a white man in the face. Wangero, as she becomes to be known later, in contrast, even though she is formerly from the country, ultimately she moves away and is exposed to thoughts about racial parity. These views together with her urban education, enables her see matters of race in a different way. This causes the intrinsic disagreement between her and her family’s principles. The country and city ways are directly conflicting with one another through characters in the story. Dee’s alteration of her name to Wangero affects her family’s ideals and traditions.
The story “Good Country People” by Flannery O'Connor
Good Country People explores themes of good versus wickedness or evil, the likelihood of liberation gotten by a stumble upon violence, and the stupidity of intellectual pretensions. The main character, Joy, has changed her name to Hulga. This is because that is the ugliest name she could think of. Hulga has a wooden leg after being maimed as a child in a hunting mishap. She considers this as her most important possession because it is a symbol of her differentiation. The story begins with the theme of getting concealed behind ones own perceptions by introducing the character of Mrs. Freeman. Just like the Everyday use, we find the main character Dee changing her name to Wangero. This is also reflected in the story Good Country People where we see Joy changing her name to Hulga. The significant of the title the Good Country People is seen as ironic following the content of the story which depicts some characters as bad (Wyatt, 2008).
The story begins by unfolding Mrs. Freeman’s two expressions, that is forward and reverse. Mrs. Freeman is established as a dogmatic character. She is depicted as the character that decides about something never reconsiders the thought or opinion and never admits that she may be mistaken. This introduction establishes the theme of the story. This is mainly because of the focus on how people come out. It also shows the theme of how people think and in particular, how people can make up their mind about something and then reject any consideration or any other option. The writer is able to describe the character of Mrs. Freeman. This provides a test for the reader's personal perceptions. The reader is therefore made to take the information provided about her manifestation and try to establish who she is. The reader subsequently not only reading about the topic of the story but is also made to participate in the subject (Wyatt, 2008).
Hulga believes she is more rational and intellectual than all of the good country people and this makes her to prize her situation. She considers herself intelligent than her mother, her neighbors, and finally Pointer, a Bible salesman. Pointer had stolen her leg after having seduced her in the loft of a barn, even though it was Hulga who intended to seduce him. When she lost her leg, Hulga learns more about evil. This undermines her past believe that “Nothing” is the sole meaning in the world. The whole story hangs on a powerful irony that ultimately, what Joy loses is her faith but it is a faith in nothing. This means that she lastly possesses knowledge of evil.
The character portrayal of Hulga can be related to Walker’s main character in her story, Everyday Use. To start with, they both change their names, a decision that elicits opposition from other people. Both characters seem to differ with their parents. Hulga views herself as more intelligent than other good country people. On the other hand Dee differs with her mother on issues relating to naming of children and her understanding of the modern woman (Wyatt, 2008).
Good Country People by O'Connor is a story that shows how misleading appearances can become. The author goes on the story line and exemplifies those mistakes that people can make when they conceal behind their own perceptions rather than thinking unmistakably about circumstances. The plot of the story makes the ending efficient and leaves the reader with anticipations much like Hulga, the major character in the story.
The poem "Marriage" by Gregory Corso
Corso's poem "Marriage" is an idiom of the poet's repulsion with the perception of marriage as a primarily middle class institution. This also shows how the poet's fights between conforming and subverting the whole process. However, his meaning is serious as he is looking for some ideal which will permit him the happiness that a conventional marriage would not give. According to the poem, for today's young people there no any external pivot around which they can, as an age bracket, group their clarification and their ambitions. There is no any philosophy, party, or single attitude. The malfunction of most orthodox ethical and social concepts to replicate fully the life they have known is perhaps the explanation for this.
The poet has lost faith in the recent generation that does not reflect in the structures of ordered American society. The postwar generation supposed that these organizations had become unsuccessful in both curbing the bewilderment and disturbance of war, but had also not been able to become accustomed to a world extremely pretentious by the divergence. In the poem Marriage, published in 1959, the writer launches an assault on the convention of marriage. He achieves this by viewing at wedlock through three different approaches. These approaches include that of the working, middle and upper class (Duff, 2002).
The two boundaries of affluence are ingeniously positioned. Both groups reside in apartments in New York but their understanding of the city is completely differently. According to the immigrant family it is hot stinking tight city, seven flights up roaches and rats in the walls. The well-to-do dwell high up in a penthouse with an enormous window from which they could view the entire city and beyond on clearer days. The speaker's wives are compared with immigrant wife being enormous and productive with the violence, noise and strong will. On the other side her counterpart is gorgeous complicated tall and pale. Contrasting the first wife, she has no kids. The poet observes that there is an air of infertility and wintriness to her. What bring together these two different images are two factors. To start with, they are both cartoon strips of immigrant life and elevated society. The other factor is that more significantly, neither representation of marriage is deemed adequate. In the first instance the writer states that it is not possible to lie back and dream and the other according to the poem is a pleasant prison dream. Marriage does not satisfy him in a devout sense (Duff, 2002).
The writer focuses his furthermost energies on the middle class. He painstakingly describes each stage of a young marriage life together to exemplify to what extent marriage is ritualized and secondary to the wealthy necessitate for looking respectable. During dating, they boundary their behavior to the limits forced by society. When the man meets his fiancée’s parents they make cliched remarks that they were losing their daughter but at the same time gaining a son. We cannot fail to notice the priest's words as he asks him whether he took the wife as his lawful conjugal wife, the statement emphasis on the sense of tradition and the significance of the wedding. It also emphasize on the wedding being proper, legal or socially acceptable by the society. The honeymoon is venue is taken at a conventional spot that is a preferential site for many in America. Considering the early married life, his wife becomes a housewife while he goes out to work and needs nothing more than to be the mother of his children. This traditional approach towards woman as helpless people with a sole aim in to make their husbands happy was characteristic of traditional middle class America (Duff, 2002).
The theme of conflict of traditional setting versus modernity is clearly depicted when after the wedding the wife just stays at home and makes the husband happy. The couple is seen as embracing the modernity while at the same time living according to the expectations of the society. This is clearly shown when the man to be meets his parents in law. The choice of the honeymoon site after wedding also highlights the same theme. The poem has a lot of noticeable characteristics when compared with Walker’s short story Everyday Use. In both cases the main characters are at crossroad, getting a lot of pressure regarding the traditions while at the same time wanting to live in modernity. We cannot fail to appreciate the poet’s choice of the poem’s title as Marriage. The entire poem revolves around the wedding and some factors affecting a typical marriage arrangement. The poet criticizes the marriage ideals assumed by many people (Duff, 2002).
The thesis statement of this essay is the significance of the title of the story Everyday Use by Walker. The story concentrates on the daily happening of the main character Dee. It also highlights the conflict that is clear between the tradition and modernity. The same theme is emphasized in the short story the Good Country People and the poem Marriage. In all situations, the three writers depict the main characters as confused and mixed up by what they perceive as right and what the society requires of them. The significant of the title is felt after discovering how the writers explore their subjects and themes based on the title.