Mama: “Everyday Use”
Do you ever stop and think about your heritage? Where you come from? How you got here? How your ancestors lived life? Now stop and think about how you should treat your heritage. Do you simply think your heritage is something to just remember, or do you believe you should apply the things inherited from heritage to everyday use? In Alice Walker’s short story, “Everyday Use,” Mama, Maggie, and Dee, three very different characters, have controversy over this topic. Mama is a tough and robust woman, who has worked all her life to provide for her family. Mama’s always had a soft spot for her daughter, Dee, but when Mama finally stands up to her, she sends the message that the things you inherit from your heritage should be applied to everyday use.
Mama is a rather large African-American woman, who describes herself as being “a big-boned woman with rough man-working hands.” (456). It is inferred that she has plenty of meat on her bones because she makes the statement that, “my fat keeps me hot in zero degree weather.” (456). It takes a great deal of fat to keep someone hot in that cold of climate. Mama’s description of her own looks gives the image that she not only is a bit meaty, but she also has a man-like appearance. For example, Mama’s descriptions suggest that she has muscles that are as large as (and even larger than) some men. This is inferred when she says, “I break ice to get water for washing”, “I kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man”, and “I knocked a bull calf straight in the brain between the eyes with a sledge hammer.” (458). Mama’s rough, warn looks prove that she has gone through a lot of hard work in order to provide for her family’s needs.
Mama also has a man-ish personality to accompany her manly looks. I describe Mama as being a stern and unyielding woman, much like a man. Mama is not afraid to say what is on her mind. This is shown when Mama doesn’t hold back when she describes her daughter,...