What is the symbolism in Walker's "Everyday Use"?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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"Everyday Use" is so replete with symbolism it seems difficult to cover all of it.  I would like to add two details that are important but have not yet been mentioned, and both pertain to Dee.

First, her clothing when she arrives. The narrator says "It's so loud it hurts my eyes. There are yellows and oranges enough to throw back the light of the sun. I feel my whole face warming from the heat waves it throws out." Through this description, we see Dee associated with fire, the same thing that burnt and scarred her sister, Maggie.

Second, when Dee leaves, "She put on some sunglasses that hid everything above the tip of her nose and her chin." The dark glasses, in other words, hide her identity as well as darken her vision of the world, preventing her from seeing the truth of all she has experienced that day in regard to family and heritage. Immediately before she puts them on, in fact, she tells Maggie:  "You ought to try to make of yourself, too, Maggie.  It's really a new day fro...

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