Find passages in "Everyday Use" where Mama tells the reader about herself.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A passage where Mama tells the reader about herself can be found towards the beginning of this short story just after Mama relays her dream where she is on a TV program with her daughter, Dee. After presenting herself in the way that she would like to be seen in her imagination, this is then contrasted with a direct and clear description of what she is really like:

In real life I am a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands. In the winter I wear flannel nightgowns to bed and overalls during the day. I can kill and clean a hog as mecilessly as a man. My fat keeps me hot in zero weather. I can work outside all day...

Mama is a woman who is defined by the hardship and tough circumstances that she has had to endure. She has needed to  learn how to do jobs such as break ice and kill a hog that normally men would do, and as a result she has "man-working" hands. She is clearly a woman who has not been pampered, and because of her challenging circumstances fat is something that is viewed as helping her keep warm rather than a negative quality. This of course is very different from her imagined self, which, tellingly, she reveals to be "the way my daughter would want me to be." This tells the reader that there is some conflict between Mama and daughter, as who Mama is and what she looks like is obviously not acceptable to Dee. There are numerous passages in this short story which reveal to the reader information about Mama, and this response has examined one of these. Try reading the story and identifying other similar passages, and considering what these add to the reader's understanding of Mama.

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