In the short story "Everyday Use," how does the physical setting give support to the contrasting attitudes of both Mama and Dee?

"Everyday Use" takes place at the Johnsons' home in rural Georgia, and the physical setting gives support to the contrasting attitudes of both Mama and Dee in that Dee's unexpected appreciation of the house and the items in it contrast with her mother's feelings about her home. This draws attention to the difference between the women's attitudes regarding heritage and family history.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Although the family home, which provides the setting for this story, is a simple construction, Mama creates a warmth in the space. She takes pride in sweeping her yard, which she considers an extension of her living room. Mama enjoys the modest lifestyle that the home affords, and the simple items in her house are practical, from the butter churn to the quilts. At the end of the story, Mama sits with Maggie on the porch and the two share a comfortable silence. Mama's comfort in their simple lifestyle reflects her genuine appreciation for a life of simplicity.

This attitude contrasts sharply with Dee, who has never been content with the life Mama has provided. As a young girl, Dee had watched their first house burn down, and Mama noticed that Dee held a look of concentration on her face that reflected joy in being rid of the home she hated. When she returns home as an adult with a new name, Mama finds that it is even difficult to look at Dee through the bright sun. Adding to the visual...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1073 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on