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Eng115 Week 3 Reader's Journal - Characters Every Day Use

By:   •  July 25, 2019  •  Case Study  •  869 Words (4 Pages)  •  276 Views

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Fabiola Mercado

ENG115 | Summer II 2019

Prof. T. West

Week 3 | Reader’s Journal

Character

In literature characters are dynamic, static, and round or flat.  Dynamic and round characters are what compelling stories are created or built around.  These characters go through many major changes such as life transitions, trials and tribulations.  These characters show growth.  The characters qualities change over the course of the story.  A static and flat character on the other hand does not change or evolve.  They simply remain the same.  “Every Day Use” by Alice Walker provides us with both types of characters.

Mama – Dynamic & Round

Mama, who is the narrator of the story, is a strong and loving mother.  She sometimes feels overwhelmed by her daughters, Dee and Maggie. Mama is both gentle and very stern.  Throughout the story we get to look at what a mother’s unconditional love.  We also so how even that love has limits.  She is very honest about who each of her daughters are.  She is critical and honest of both Maggie and Dee.  Mama fantasizes about a pleasant reunion with Dee and how Dee will show love and compassion for both her and Maggie.  Mama resents the air of superiority that Dee has learned over the years.  Mama feels under appreciated by Dee.  Mama’s lack of understanding of Dee’s life creates a lack of trust and in the end she stands up to Dee by choosing Maggie as the person to receive the quilts. Mama shows us that she is dynamic and round throughout every aspect of this story particularly when she chooses to standup to Dee. .  In a way insuring that their heritage is taken care in the way the matters most.

Maggie – Static & Round

Maggie is submissive, quiet, and shy. She is not selfish. Maggie was severely burned in a house fire when she was a child and her scarred appearance has made her self conscious about her burns.  This incident is why she hides her sympathetic, generous nature. She lives at home and is protected by Mama.  Her isolation has served as protection but has also made her a victim as she is extremely shy and does not have much of an education.  She is innocent in nature and has not come into her own.  We see her come out of her shell when what she most desires is about to be taken away. It is here where she shows her roundness as a character.  Maggie will forever long for her sister’s approval.  She shows this by choosing to give up the quilts.  This action shows us how she remains a static character how at the core she remains submissive, quite and selfless.

Dee – Static & Flat

Dee’s persona is loud, arrogant and judgmental.  She is the object of jealousy and friction among her family members.  Dee’s judgmental nature has affected Mama and Maggie profoundly. She is desperately seeking a stronger sense of self.  In this search she changes her name and insists that she be called “Wangero” which seems forced and contrived.  She seeks to reclaim her heritage by showing interest in the butter churn and the quilts not because of their practical use but because she wants to see them as artifacts or objects to have on display as proof of her heritage rather than a way of life.  She remains the same never showing compassion or appreciation for her mother and sister.  Instead of truly honoring her roots, Dee looks down on her surroundings, her mother, her sister and believes herself to be above them.

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