Alice Walker’s “everyday use” essay

At this point, everyone is so well versed in the different approaches to the text, the different ways of seeing the textual elephant, that you don’t need your blind, wise man instructor to suggest much in the way of topics. If you do, start a question in the Discussion area or my in-box and I will respond to it. Your Assignment? Write your own essay on Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use.” As always, it is four pages, double-spaced, size 12 font, Times New Roman or Arial.

As the most modern work we study, this short story has the most elements in common with our own time and way of life. Certainly, going to college and coming home changed, coming home with different ideas if not a different or modified identity, is not unfamiliar to us. One creative way to relate to the essay is to find ways your own experience corresponds with the text on this matter of coming home. If you do this, be sure to relate your experience back to the short story consistently, so you don’t lose points for lack of analysis and insight.

One other approach is to show the battle that goes on between new ideas, change, and progressive thought and the antithetical forces of tradition, stability, and holding on to the past. These centripetal and centrifugal forces are always interacting at any given moment of reality, and the ideas of Bhaktin from chapter 5 explore this “heterogenous zone of contact.” What forces are at work in Walker’s Everyday Use?

Students also often favor Freud’s personality theory applied to the characters in the story.

Okay, I reminded you of a few ideas, but please follow your own instincts and inclinations.

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