“Everyday Use” is a short story written by Alice Walker. Walker did a wonderful job illustrating her characters. There are all types of characters in this short story from round to static. Her use of simple symbolism prompts the reader to take a deeper look into the story. Walker’s humble way of conveying the theme makes the reader take a second look at him or herself. Walker did an excellent job in writing this story, so she could warn people of what might happen if they do not live properly.
Every possible type of character is displayed in this short story. Dee starts out the story as a stereotypical light-skinned black person. Feeling as though she was better than everyone else was because her: waist was small, skin was light, a nice grade of hair, and she was somewhat educated. Dee was in a hurry to get out of the country and never come back. She wrote to her mother saying “no matter where we choose to live, she will manage to come see us. But she will never bring her friends” (Walker 63), letting everyone know that she thought she was too good to continue to take part in her heritage. Maggie was portrayed as a flat character. The reader is not told much about her, and she never changes throughout the whole story. The mother would be the static character. She is seen as an older women set in her ways from life experiences, and from what she had been taught growing up black in the south. She made up her mind that the two family quilts would go to Maggie and she did not give it a second thought. Dee is also the dynamic character round. She is dynamic when she returns home to the country. She had previously said she would not bring any of her friends home, but when she gets there she is accompanied by a gentleman. Other aspects of her dynamics are displayed when she changes her name to “Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo”. She went from dyeing and hating her upbringing to wanting to take a piece of it with her back to the city. To show off where and what she comes from. Dee is truly a round character. Walker did an excellent job with these characters especially Dee.
Walker’s use of lucid symbolism prompts the reader to take a deeper look into the story and into him or herself. The mother stands for the oppression of black people. The fact that she had only a second grade education showed the white man trying to keep blacks from being educated. She was a strong black woman this characteristic was put in to remind everyone of what blacks go through, but is still able to stand tall. Dee symbolizes ignorance. She was mad at the wrong people to begin with, and ended up almost breaking her mother’s heart. The quilts themselves seemed to be the most symbolic of all. These quilts symbolized the years of oppression that blacks faced and are still facing. They also stood for the deep-rooted history of that particular family. Those quilts stood for the title “Everyday Use”. Everyday use is what they were intended for when they were made, but carried such deep underlying meaning. It would have been a shame to of let them deteriorate from everyday use, and not be shown off for the treasures they really were.
The whole theme of this story is do not take any thing for granted there is no guarantees on anything. Dee looked at her country life and was not happy because she chose to see her life in a negative way. Instead of seeing all of the positive aspects of her life she chose to be unhappy. She would not except the quilts when her mother offered them to her because they stood for country living. If she had only opened her eyes and seen the history or even the love put into the making of those quilts they would have been her’s. Walker used Dee to show the reader a closed minded person who finally saw the light to late.
Walker uses this short story to speak out to the young black youth of America. She was tired of the beliefs probed into the heads of her fellow people. Especially those put into the heads of the lighter black community. She gave the character’s true characteristic so the readers could see themselves, and maybe correct whatever is going wrong in there own lives. Symbolism was a strong point in this short story so the readers could relate to their own lives. Her dynamic theme was put across in a way that everyone who reads this story can relate. She was telling her people to live each day of life to the fullest, and do not over look anything directly in their path.