Presentation on theme: "“Everyday Use” Alice Walker. Historical Background Written in 1973 Black Nationalism/ Black Pride –Ideas encouraged African-Americans to learn about their."— Presentation transcript:
“Everyday Use” Alice Walker
Historical Background Written in 1973 Black Nationalism/ Black Pride –Ideas encouraged African-Americans to learn about their African ancestry –emphasized cultural, political, and economic independence for African Americans –Discriminated against women Alice Walker was against this movement
Black Feminism Women’s Rights –Movement was started by white suburban females –African-American women felt excluded –Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor represented this movement
Point of View/Strategy/Purpose 1 st person – Retrospective Retro = back / spec = looking –Ms. Johnson is uneducated, but uses sophisticated diction to explain her narrative –Expresses mixed emotions about her two daughters, Dee and Maggie Strategy –Narrative –Comparison/Contrast Purpose –To express/explore the traditional vs. progressive attitudes of young African-American females.
Symbolism and the Quilts Quilts contained pieces of the clothes Maggie and Dee’s grandparents wore. Presents a snapshot of the life of the Johnson heritage. ancestry life struggle
Symbolism and the Quilts Dee –Perceives the quilt as an ornate item/artifact of her culture Wants to hang the quilts Maggie –Perceives the quilt as both a product and a process (quilt making is process) upon which her way of life is dependent Quilts should be put to “everyday use” rather than hung on a wall. –Scarred body resembles the faded patches of the quilts.
Language of Ms. Johnson 2 nd grade education Can be described as simple to complex –Uses simple sentence constructions and words to express complex perceptions and feelings
Contrasts Maggie –Shy, devoted, awkward, sweet-natured, domesticated Dee –Outspoken, stylish, attractive, “educated”, free spirited Attitudes –Traditional vs. progressive
Dee’s Name Named after her Grandma Regards “Dee” as a slave name Denies her authentic heritage by changing her name
Irony/Taking Pictures of House House –Hated her house, but wanted to show friends pictures of her house The Quilts –Refused them when her mother tried to offer them to her; now she wants to display/show them off.
Title of the Story Quilts should be put to everyday use – not hung. Quilting symbolizes the process out of which the unimportant and meaningless may be transformed into something that is valued and useful.
Homework Questions on Writing Strategy and Language Explain each of these themes as it corresponds to “Everyday Use” Heritage, Materialism, Community vs. Isolation “Everyday Use” was published ten years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Explain how the story reflects the themes of “I Have a Dream” In other words, how is Walker commenting on the aftermaths of this movement? Beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s, many African Americans resembled Walker’s character Dee in embracing their heritage – particularly their roots in Africa – to claim a history beyond slavery and segregation. Research the specifics of this movement and write an essay on how it influenced literature, education, fashion, and other aspects of American life. Responses must be at least three paragraphs in length, containing 6-8 sentences.