Literary Criticism of "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker Essay

1495 Words Mar 24th, 2011 6 Pages
Paper on "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker
Cross Cultural Literature
4/14/08
The book "Approaching Literature in the 21st Century" by Peter Shackel and Jack Ridl is filled with various themes involving parents and their children. There are three specific stories that focus on mothers and daughters that I will use for this paper. The stories are Daughter of Invention by Julia Alvarez, Everyday Use by Alice Walker and Two Kinds by Amy Tan. These stories are similar in many ways in general, like they all involve a mother who has influenced her daughter’s life or involve a parent and their child. From another perspective though, all three stories are very different in regards to the individual relationships that each mother/daughter pair
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Describing her mother the daughter says, “My mother believed that you could be anything that you wanted to be in America…”Of course you can be a prodigy, too,” my mother told me when I was nine. “you can be best anything.”(p189) Lastly, Daughter of Invention is about a Dominican mother who is an inventor and who is always trying to create improvements in things from her experiences with them in real life. She tries to make a can opener/bumper, for those picnics when one is far away from home and need to open canned goods. The daughter is inspired from her mother’s inventions and only after growing up can she really appreciate them. Speaking on how she felt as a little child the main character, the daughter, says, “I suppose none of her daughters was very encouraging. We resented her spending time on those dumb inventions. Here we were trying to fit in America among Americans; we needed help figuring who we were…and here was our own mother, who didn’t have a second to help us puzzle any of this out, inventing gadgets to make life easier for American mom. Why it seemed as if she were arming our own enemy against us!”(p13). Later on in the story, as it progresses, the narrator is looking back on events in her life and speaks quite differently about her mother’s inventions. She says, “But her inventing days were over just as mine were starting up with my schoolwide success. That’s

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