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Everyday Use Character Compare and Contrast

In: English and Literature

Submitted By eng3
Words 720
Pages 3
The comparison of characters is something an author allows us to do while reading a story. They do so by, describing to us the characters appearance, personality, lifestyle, and any other unique qualities that might help illustrate someone. In the story “everyday use”, written by Alice walker, it is written from a mother’s point of view as she talks about her two daughters, Maggie and Dee, and how different they are. They are both similar in some ways yet, have very individual personalities, physical appearances, and perspective on things.
The first thing I noticed while reading the story was how the two girls differed in appearance. with the way the mother describes Maggie she says of how Maggie is vary skinny like a small child, dark skinned and has burn scars down her arms and legs, from when her home had caught on fire and she had to be pulled out as her mother had explained, causing her to be ashamed of her looks. Her mother says “she will stand hopelessly in corners, homely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs, eyeing her sister with a mixture of envy and awe.” Maggie’s scars have really affected the way she carries herself. She walks like a dog run over by a car as her mother describes it. Maggie is not only physically but mentally scarred. So traumatized from the fire Maggie is very timid, anti social and self conscious. Unlike her sister Maggie never got the proper schooling to learn to read or write vary well, the only things she knows how to do truly well are the things she grew up doing such as helping her mother around the house with cleaning, cooking, sewing, and things like that. Maggie and Dee have diverse views of how to cherish their heritage. To Maggie actually putting the things, of her heritage, to everyday use is a better way of appreciating it then just having it on display never to be used. Although they are sisters, Maggie and Dee both think and act distinctly.
The older sister Dee who Maggie is envious of and always nervous around is lighter skinned than her with prettier hair, and a fuller figure. The biggest difference between the two is their personalities. Dee is very outgoing, determined, extroverted and used to always getting what she wants. When Dee wanted to go to school her mother and the church raised money for her to go to school in Augusta she graduated high school and went to collage becoming well educated. In the story, when Dee had come back home to visit her sister and mother she insisted that she have the quilts her grandmother had made. She wanted to hang them up on her wall to celebrate her heritage and not let them be used so they wouldn’t become damaged. Dee changed a lot after she moved to the city and completely changed her life from what it used to be when she lived with Maggie. She changed the way she dresses, the way she thought, and even chaged her name to Wangero. Maggie on the other hand still lived at home with her mother having a completely different lifestyle than Dee.
With all the individual characteristics between the two it’s hard to pin point the similarities among the sisters. One thing they share is their love for the quilts and wanting to cherish their heritage. The two both value their background and roots and want to hold on to them. They both have had traumatic experiences with their childhood house burning down when they were kids. They also equally want to make their mother proud.
Dee and Maggie’s conflicting characters serve as symbols to convey the overall theme of the story. What is the meaning of heritage and why is it so important? Everyone has things in their life that come from their parents or grandparents and sometimes things that date back even further into their family’s history. Everyone appreciates things differently. Some might take Dee’s side and would want to hang the quilts up for display or some might take Maggie’s side and want to put the quilts to use to remember their heritage. How do you feel is the proper way to attach importance to the things from your heritage?…...

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