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Potential thesis for an essay on Alice Walker's story "Everyday Use."What is a good...

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sabrinadbradshaw | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 15, 2011 at 1:50 PM via web

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Potential thesis for an essay on Alice Walker's story "Everyday Use."

What is a good thesis statment for everyday use by alice walker?

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 15, 2011 at 2:22 PM (Answer #2)

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One possibility might be to try to go against the grain and argue that Dee is not as unattractive a character as we usually assume.  You might try something like this:

 

In her short story "Everyday Use," Alice Walker seems to present Dee as a wholly unappealing character.  In some ways, however, Dee is not as unappealing as she seems -- partly because she resembles, in some respects, Walker herself.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 15, 2011 at 10:37 PM (Answer #3)

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Like the above poster suggested, one topic that usually makes for an interesting thesis with any well-critiqued text is to refute popular commentary and show how you believe differently.

Another typical, but not too difficult approach to a thesis statement is to come up with a theme in the story, and write about that theme by analyzing the author's use of literary devices to portray the theme.

It might help for you to start by brainstorming some open ended questions that are broad enough to require an entire essay to answer.  Some examples include:

  1. What is the author's purpose/message in "Everyday Use" and how does she portray this message?
  2. Who is the [strongest, weakest, most content, least content, etc.] character and why?
  3. What is one theme presented in "Everyday Use" that is still applicable to today?  How?
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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted October 15, 2011 at 11:32 PM (Answer #4)

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Another thesis you might consider is that our cultures can impede us as least as much as they nurture us, a slightly broader take on the suggestion of the second response.  The values of the sister who stays home are important ones, certainly, a cherishing of tradition by continuing to live it, but if everyone were like this, would we ever grow?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 16, 2011 at 2:23 AM (Answer #5)

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I have always found this a very meaningful selection.  Why not focus on the importance of heritage.  Most of us today do not think about passing things down from one generation to another, either objects or traditions. What is your perspective?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted October 16, 2011 at 3:43 AM (Answer #6)

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Thesis 1: In "Everyday Use," Walker suggest that heritage is an important part of life and should be shared with the next generation.

Thesis 2: In "Everyday Use," the narrator understands the importance of cultural heritage, suggesting that children should appreciate their heritage as it is passed down.

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted October 17, 2011 at 6:06 AM (Answer #7)

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*should be "Walker suggests" in the above post...

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 29, 2012 at 7:58 PM (Answer #8)

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Perhaps, you may wish to define "cultural heritage" as it pertains to Walker's story "Everyday Use."  Obviously, Maggie and her mother have conflicting ideas of the meaning of "heritage" with Dee in this narrative.  What, then, is Alice Walker's defintion and how does she illustrate and define this meaning?

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 1, 2012 at 7:21 PM (Answer #9)

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I tend to be partial to how "Wangero" suddenly wants to over-do her heritage and merely focus on the aesthetic and fashionable, rather than on what really matters about it. It reminds me about every person who claims Irish heritage in St. Patrick's day and literally want to be more Irish than a shamrock. However chances are that they do not even know how to locate Ireland on a map. I feel that a good thesis would then be "cultural heritage versus aesthetic heritage: the case of Wangero". This would give you ample room to point out how silly her entire argument is on wanting the quilt in the first place.

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