What is the tone of "Everyday Use"?

What is the tone of "Everyday Use"?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The tone of a story concerns the attitude of the narrator or character toward the subject matter or the attitude of the author toward the subject matter. In “Everyday Use ,” we would describe tone through the attitude of the narrator, Mama., and her tone changes throughout the story. In the opening sentences she is boastful about how nice the yard looks, but she quickly becomes defensive when she begins talking about Dee and then compares herself to her, describing herself as “a large big-boned woman with rough, man-working hand.” Yet even while she defends her own sense of self, she...

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kimberelly | Student

Walker seems to reveal in the story the different perspectives of African American women during the time the story was set. She shows how distant Dee, who has left home to seek a higher education, seems to be from her family. Dee, who is described as a beautiful, confident and intelligent young woman, seemingly always gets what she wants. Through out the story she is set up to sound as if she is on a higher level than her mother and sister; the story suggests that she is arrogant and doesn’t have a true grasp and understanding of her heritage. Dee seems to be more focused on the materialistic heirlooms than on the respect of her family members. The author communicates this by the way she describes Dee’s dress, delicate figure and interests compared to the contrasting description of her mother who is big boned, strong and manly due to her hard work. The author shows that Maggie and Mrs. Johnson are more knowledgeable when it comes to doing “every day” activities that sustain their lives; they are presented to be knowledgeable and understanding of their heritage, despite their lack of education.

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