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Short Story Fiction: Everyday Use

Short Story Fiction. Choose one of the following topics; avoid long-winded plot summations. Situational irony is present in Everyday Use, which enriches the understanding of the theme and its dramatic plot. Since the story begins with Dees domination of her family, readers may expect that she will continue to control her mother and sister and “own” the quilts for herself. Dee knows that as the “educated” one in her family, she can easily manipulate her family, who once when she read to them, were “sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice” (Walker). The reversal of expectation happens, because Mama strongly opposes Dees demands for the quilts and decides to give it to Maggie. Apparently, the lamb can also change to a lion when needed.

In addition, situational irony persists as a form of exploring the theme of traditional versus modern beliefs. When Dee arrives in a more “African” ensemble, Walker seems to be inviting readers to think that Dee has changed and shed her superior ego complex. Instead of being humbled by college education, however, Dee becomes more enamored with the idea of subjugating rural life, especially its “backward” (Walker) thinking and practices.

Irony shows that Dee remains culturally immature, as she degrades how rural culture will see these old quilts as fit for “everyday use” (Walker), when for her, a learned African would see it as a precious piece of African heritage, one that is fit for display. Another situational irony example in this story is when Dee fully turns into a white oppressor, all the while believing that changing what she looks like and her name have turned her into a genuine African. Dee tells her mother that her new name is Wangero, because she could not stand “being named after the people who oppress me” (Walker). Dee also complains that her mother and Maggie remain completely ignorant of their “heritage” and she says: “Its really a new day for us. But from the way you and Mama still live you’d never know it”

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