Everyday Use

Analysis of Character in “Everyday Use” and The Heiress College

In Alice Walker’s famous short story “Everyday Use,” Dee is perceived as an unsympathetic character. It is difficult for the reader to feel compassion for Dee since she possesses repelling characteristics; she is as authoritative, manipulative, and self-absorbed. Although “Everyday Use” provides brief glimpses into the past, it is nearly impossible for the reader to have a full understanding of the truth in Dee’s upbringing prior to the story. Ruth and Augustus Goetz’s play The Heiress presents the journey of Catherine, a character who, in the final scene, shares similar characteristics with Dee; however, the audience witnesses Catherine’s troublesome upbringing and the traumatic events that unfold before the final scene. In The Heiress, the audience sees a change in Catherine, giving reason as to why she grew into a cold-hearted character. “Everyday Use” is equivalent to the last scene of The Heiress, with the significant difference that the reader does not have the opportunity to experience Dee’s journey. This comparison raises a question: Would the reader be more sympathetic towards Dee if the reader truly knew her past?

It is evident that Dee is the antagonist of Walker’s “Everyday Use.” Although the term “antagonist” doesn...

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