Everyday use
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Everyday Use. By Alice Walker. Author’s Background. best-known for her novel The Color Purple, which was published in 1982 and won both the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award the following year

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Everyday Use

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Everyday use

Everyday Use

By Alice Walker


Author s background

Author’s Background

  • best-known for her novel The Color Purple, which was published in 1982 and won both the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award the following year

  • The novel was adapted into a movie that was nominated for an Academy Award in 1985, produced by Quincy Jones and directed by Stephen Spielberg.


Author s background1

Author’s Background

  • an amazingly productive and versatile writer.

  • published five novels, four collections of poetry, two collections of short stories, three books of essays, and many articles and stories for magazines

  • edited a book about one of her mentors, the writer Langston Hughes, served as a contributing editor for Ms. Magazine

  • has taught at several colleges and universities.


Warm up activity

Warm Up Activity

  • Have you ever read a story in which you can see yourself in one of the characters? If yes, what story was it? What did you have in common with the character?


Round robin

Round Robin

  • Each person shares his/her response.

  • No comments and interruptions until everyone has shared.


Making predictions

Making Predictions

  • Based on the title, Everyday Use, what do you think the story is about?


Round robin1

Round Robin

  • Each person shares his/her response.

  • No comments and interruptions until everyone has shared.


Seeing yourself in the characters

Seeing Yourself in the Characters

  • You’ll find three characters dominate “Everyday Use”

  • A woman and her two adult daughters: Mama, Maggie, and Dee

  • In one interview about this story, Walker said she thinks of the characters as herself, split into three related parts.


Find word meaning in context

Find Word Meaning in Context

  • recompose


Recompose v

Recompose (v.)

  • Regain calmness and control


Talk to the text

Talk to the Text

  • Asking questions

  • Predicting

  • Visualizing

  • Making connections

  • Summarizing

  • Reflecting and relating

  • Evaluating

  • Revising meaning

  • Forming interpretations

  • clarifying


Plot development

Plot Development

  • Draw a plot diagram for the story.

  • How would you divide the plot and explain your reasons.

  • What is the conflict and climax of the story?


Character analysis

Character Analysis

Write a 2-Chunk paragraph per character.

  • What kind of person is Maggie?

  • What kind of person is Dee?

  • What kind of person is the mother?


Discussion questions

Discussion Questions

1. List the characteristics of the three main characters in “Everyday Use” as they are revealed by the narrator. How do the differences between these two characters add to the conflict in the story. What IS the conflict?


Discussion questions1

Discussion Questions

2. What is the point of view in “Everyday Use”? How does the style of writing reflect the character of the person who tells the story? That is, look at the language of the speaker. What are characteristics of that language and how do those characteristics reflect the personality of the speaker?


Discussion questions2

Discussion Questions

3. What do the quilts symbolize? What other evidence in the story lead us to see the quilts as symbols of a bigger issue? How does the climactic ending turn the tables on Dee’s use of terms like “backward” and “heritage”? What is ironic about Dee’s use of these words?


Discussion questions3

Discussion Questions

4. How does the title hint at the central theme of the story? What other evidence in the story hints at the central theme? What is that central theme? What in the story helps especially to bring the theme to life for you and keep it from becoming an abstract idea?


Discussion questions4

Discussion Questions

5. What IRONY occurs when the departing Dee accuses her  mother and  sister of not understanding "your heritage" (845, par.  82)?  Significantly who smiles at this point, and why does she smile?  


Discussion questions5

Discussion Questions

6. Who is the ANTAGONIST of the story?  Explain.


Discussion questions6

Discussion Questions

7. In the end, with which characters does Alice Walker seem to side on the issue of heritage?


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