Are "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker and The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros similar or different?

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scarletpimpernel's profile pic

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

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I would argue that the two works are similar in their characters but different in the relationships between those characters.  "Everyday Use" discusses the rather tense relationship between the independent Dee and her mother and scarred sister Maggie.  Dee does not identify with her mother and sister because they seem backward, country, and too simple since she moved to the city and became involved in the Back to Africa movement which encouraged African-Americans to treasure their heritage and items that represent that heritage (hence, Dee's desire to have the quilts).

While Cisneros' House of Mango street also discusses in detail the dynamics of female relationships in a minority family (a Latin-American family), those relationships are more strongly developed in her collection of stories than is the relationship in "Everyday Use," and the older women seem just as strong and independent in House as the younger women who are seeking to establish their identity.

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Both stories are about a culture and poverty.  The story by Alice Walker "Everyday Use" is about a black family that lives very modestly in a clapboard house with no windows just holes.  The story is very descriptive and centers on the house and its contents including the quilt.

The House on Mango Street is a book about a Latino neighborhood.  The narrator focuses on the houses around her and the neighbors who live in them to describe who she is and what her life is like.

The two are different because one is about a black family and the other is Latino.  One event takes place in the country and one is in the city.  The narrators are different because one is the mother’s perspective and the others is the child’s perspective.

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