How does Alice Walker use her experience in life to develop the plot in the novel "Everyday Use"?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story Everyday Use shows some aspects of Alice Walker’s real life. Traits of the characters and their upbringing can be seen in her own personality. Alice Walker was able to develop the plot of the story by tapping into her own history.

The author was ambitious and pursued her studies devotedly without the support of her father but relying only on that of her mother. To some extent, she relates to Dee, the character in the story, who is also ambitious and scholarly. This is further confirmed by the strong resemblance between Dee and the author with regard to their attempts to preserve their culture and heritage. Alice worked for the Civil Rights movement in Georgia and proposed the introduction of literature about the Black experience in the American curriculum.

The author is also seen in Maggie, who suffers an accident that changes her physique and impacts her personality. When she was young, Alice turned blind in one eye after her brother’s gun discharged. The accident robbed her of sight in one eye and left her a little more reserved than she had been previously. Alice also shared a similar socioeconomic background with the two sisters in the story.

Alice Walker employed her own life experiences to develop the plot but slightly changed some of the facts to create a unique experience that communicated her ideas.