Critical Analysis Of Everyday Use Essay

A critical analysis is an evaluation of a story and its contents. In order to make an analysis critical is to use critical thinking and judgment to express a thought or idea. The writer’s opinion forms the analysis, but uses evidence to break down the content of a story. “In Everyday Use,” a critical analysis can be created from the plot, characterization, point of view, and a theme. First, the plot of “Every day Use” begins with Mama and Maggie waiting for Dee’s arrival. Mama fantasizes about how grand Dee’s arrival would feel like, but in reality she knows how judgmental and self-centered her daughter really is.

Dee was educated and had the privilege to attend school. She could read unlike her sister Maggie, who could not read as clearly and was less educated. When Dee finally arrives, she is dressed in a flamboyant dress and fancy jewelry to complement it. She brought her boyfriend along with her and they both greeted Maggie and Mama using a foreign dialect. Maggie was not too fond of their arrival. When Mama initiates a conversation with Dee by calling her name, she finds out that Dee has changed it because she feels that she is named after the people who oppressed her.

Mama tries to assure her that she was named after her aunt, but she refuses to accept her mother’s explanation. During dinner, Dee was pleased by the fact that she was sitting on the old bench that has been around for generations. She then embraces her grandmother’s butter dish and asks Mama for the butter churn and dasher her older relatives had crafted. She wanted to use the churn top as a centerpiece for her alcove table and think of something artistic to do with the dasher.

After dinner, Dee looks into Mama’s trunk and asks for two for quilts containing pieces that dated all the way back to the civil war. Mama refuses to give them to Dee because she promised them to Maggie once she marries John Thomas. Dee does not think Maggie should have the quilts because she would put them to everyday use; but that is exactly why Mama wants Maggie to have them. Maggie hears Dee’s outrage and offers her sister the quilts. Mama then snatches them out of Dee’s hands and gives them to Maggie. As Dee leaves, she tells Mama that she does not understand her own heritage.

She then kisses Maggie and tells her to try to make something out of herself and that it is a new day for African Americans. Maggie smiles with pleasure and enjoys the rest of her day with Mama as she watches her sister drive off. Secondly, characterization can be used to create a critical analysis in “Everyday Use. ” The main characters in the story are Mama, Maggie, and Dee. Mama describes herself by saying, “In real life I am a large, big-boned woman with rough, manworking hands. ” She is a hard working woman taking care of both her daughters.

She was not well educated. Mama explains her educational background saying, “I never had an education myself. After second grade the school was closed down. Don’t ask me why: in 1927 colored asked fewer questions than they do now. ” Mama did not have the privilege to an education like Dee because of racial differences in the past. She also knows the true meaning of her heritage and would not allow Dee to take the quilts. Mama understands that her heritage is not dead and is forever living and asks her daughter, ‘What would you do with them? Mama knew that Dee would treat the quilts as if it was something to preserve.

Mama describes Maggie’s shyness and lack of confidence by stating, “Have you ever seen a lame animal, perhaps a dog run over by some careless person rich enough to own a car, sidle up to someone who is ignorant enough to be kind to him? That is the way my Maggie walks. She has been like this, chin on chest, eyes on ground, feet in shuffle, ever since the fire that burned the other house to the ground. ” The house fire has impacted Maggie’s life tremendously compared to her sister Dee.

She is kind-hearted and is usually over looked as described in the text, “She can have them, Mama,” she said, like somebody used to never winning anything, or having anything reserved for her. ” Maggie is selfless and is content in the life she lives. Dee is inspiring to people, “She had a few furtive boys in pink shirts hanging about on wash day after school and nervous girls who never laughed. Impressed with her, they worshipped the well-turned phrase, the cute shape, the scalding humor that erupted like bubbles in lye. She read to them. ” She has an outgoing personality and people often found her attractive.

Dee proves how judgmental she can be when she tells her sister, “You ought to try to make something of yourself, too, Maggie. It’s really a new day for us. But from the way you and mama still live you’d never know it. ” Next, the story is told in first person and it is from Mama’s point of view. Mama is the narrator. She explains in detail what she sees and how she feels. Her view seems reliable because she was not bias when it came to her daughters. She loves them both and treated them equally throughout the entire story. She remains honest and criticizes them based on their actions and not their social status.

Then, the theme of “Everyday use” can also be used to create a critical analysis. The two themes of the story are the meaning of heritage and the power of knowledge. Dee thinks that her heritage is dead and she wants to use the material remains of it as artifacts. Her heritage has not ended and needs people to keep it going and that is why Mama rewarded Maggie with the quilts. Dee tries becoming something she is not by disowning her family values for a heritage she knows nothing about. She has forgotten where she comes from and does not truly appreciate the contribution of her relatives.

Knowledge gave Dee the illusion that she is above everyone else. Dee has lost herself in education. It gave her a false view of the world and who she really is. The plot, characterization, point of view, and the theme of a story can form the content of a critical analysis. The plot tells the main points of the story. Characterization describes the personality of Mama, Maggie, and Dee. The point of view shows how reliable the narrator is and Mama’s relationship to her daughters. The theme of heritage and knowledge is the overall lesson that is told throughout the story. “Everyday Use” has all the contents in making a great critical analysis.