Contrast the different ways the 3 main characters value the house, the objects in it and their family and family traditions.I want to see all 3 characters view and how each one of them is...

Contrast the different ways the 3 main characters value the house, the objects in it and their family and family traditions.

I want to see all 3 characters view and how each one of them is different and why?

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dstuva's profile pic

Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I agree with the above answer concerning the three main characters in Walker's "Everyday Use," and how the characters value the house.  I'll just view the issue from a slightly different angle.

For Dee, the house is now (in the present of the story) art, illusion if you will.  It is what someone else's life is like.  She is now sophisticated, has moved beyond it.  She wants "souvenirs," pieces of art, from the house.

For Maggie and her mother, the house is reality.  The things in the house are what they use to live every day.  The things in the house are not antiques and art works, but tools and remembrances.     

Walker is suggesting that the mother and Maggie possess a dignity of their own.  They don't need to change and become sophisticated in order to have dignity.  And they certainly do not need to leave their home and surroundings to make their lives worth living and valuable. 

mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

In the story "Everyday Use" the mother sees her home as a utilitarian place.  She is grateful to have a roof over her head.  The place has little to offer in comfort.  It does not have real windows, only portholes cut into the walls, and little breeze flows through so she uses the outside front yard as an extended living room.  The place is not attractive so she faces her company so that they will overlook the yard and not look at the home.

Dee identifies the house and something contemptuous initially, but when she returns to it, it has become quaint and a form of popular item to use to represent one's heritage.  She sees the house more as a fashion statement about her heritage.  She takes pictures of it with her mother and sister.  It will be used to display the homey poverty look.  She believes she is representing her culture through the house and its items, but she misses the point because she is mentally disconnected from the scene.

For Maggie the house represents safety and security.  It is where she can hide from the world and be herself.  She does not have to be afraid of other people.  There is comfort in the familiarity of the things that had survived the fire in their last home.    For Maggie the items in the home such as the quilt and her grandmother's butter dish are practical items and by using them she is enveloping herself with generations of family love.

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