Motherly Love

Jada Miller

Professor Hulsey

American Literature

04 April 2022

Motherly Love

A mother smothers love for her child is an unconditional word that cannot express the amount of pain and sacrifices a single mother makes for her family. During the early 1900s, African Americans struggled every day to live. African Americans lived under a white man and were forced to work every day for a small amount. A black woman was continuously raped, abused, abducted from family, and constantly treated like scum on a shoe. The story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker isolates many issues women had during this dark time frame. The ongoing battle African Americans faced daily contributed to the primary goal of seeking change within society. If change was not appearing, hatred began to build within one another, leading many African Americans to turn on friends and family. In the story “Everyday Use”, the reader witnesses a mother struggling to build a relationship with her very stubborn daughter. The narrator’s unconditional love for her daughter in the story “Everyday Use” helps demonstrate how hard single mothers worked for their families CITATION STK13 l 1033 (S.).

Growing up during racial segregation created fear and anger within the black community. Many African Americans were in disbelief that their skin colour was the reason behind the whites’ inhumane behavior. African Americans suffered daily and were left traumatized for the rest of their lives. Nearly impossible for black people to support themselves because they did not have any rights at this time. The only thing they had was a slave number that was confidential to the enslaver if they were interested in selling their slaves. Growing up, black children did not understand why they were mistreated—experiencing white children inexpensive clothing and shoes while they had to wear rags and shoes with holes and splinters inside of them. African Americans desired the life of a white family. They only dreamed about owning their own house and being able to provide for their family without having any problems. The narrator in the story “Everyday Use” did everything to create a better life for her children. She worked all day to have enough money for her kids to attend school and have an education. In the story, she states, “I can work outside all day, breaking ice to get water for washing”. She was a hard-working woman dedicated to making a change for her family. The journal article helps provide essential information on the mental state of a black woman. Studies show that all the heartache and pain black women receive due to the harsh environments they were brought into made them stronger and motivated them to strive for a better life. Through all the obstacles the narrator experienced, such as losing a house that she worked hard for due to a fire, she remained positive and overcame everything that came her way. The short story helps educate readers that African Americans did not have any handouts in life, and everything they had was worked hard for. Throughout the year, black women have proven that they are compatible with being successful in society and have gained the respect that they deserve CITATION Cow96 l 1033 (Cowart).

Relationships between black families were not always perfect. Despite the many challenges they faced with one another, many families slowly grew apart. Perhaps in the story “Everyday Use”, the narrator’s daughter was eager for a change. Dee was an intelligent young lady, and her physical appearance was nothing to be ashamed of. She manifested in gold and glory all her life and did not want to continue to live the way she did. As she grew older, she began to teach herself how to fit in with the rich properly. Shortly, she realized that her mother and sister were content in their way of living, and she began to disown her own family. She was very disrespectful towards her mother and sister. Through all of Dee’s aggressive episodes, her mother was baffled about why her daughter acted this way. The mother said, “Sometimes I dream a dream in which Dee and I are suddenly brought together on a TV program of this sort”—imagining how life would be if she could positively reunite with her daughter and go back to how their relationship used to be. The journal article reinstates how a mother and daughter relationship can be a hassle, and there would be a phase when a daughter and the mother do not speak for months at a time CITATION von96 l 1033 (von Ammon).

Due to all the trauma Dee faced at a young age; she is permanently scarred. She always faced adversity from society and racial slurs from opinionated people during her childhood. Dee was eager for a change because she did not want to relive her past life. The journal article defines mental health and coping mechanisms. The article states that many people tend to run away from their problems and create a new life for themselves. So they do not have to worry about any issues they had in their past lives. While the narrator anxiously wanted her daughter back, Dee created a new life for herself, so she could not go through the same pain she did as a child CITATION Moo16 l 1033 (Moore).

An average black family did not have much to live off of. They worked with the little they had and somewhat of the knowledge they received. African Americans lives were a bit easier because of the lessons their ancestors taught them. Their ancestors taught them how to cook, clean, make clothing, and cure many illnesses. In the story “Everyday Use”, the narrator was on a strict budget, so her family would be well cared for. Instead of building expensive bedding and blankets, the women would make quilts out of cheap fabric. Even though the fabric was cheap, the quilts were beautiful and much appreciated by the families. The narrator had many quilts, each with a different meaning behind them. Making quilts for the family was a part of the culture and was non-replaceable. Making quilts for your family to stay warm at night took many weeks to receive the final product. The quilts held so much importance within families that they could lead to a disagreement. The story quotes, “She held the quilts securely in her arms stroking them”. They were begging the narrator for the quilt because of its meaning. Dee’s quilt was begging for was made by her grandma, who passed away. Journal articles help give the reader an idea of how deep the black culture is and how important certain items are. African American culture is profound and spiritual, even though some black families have experienced a rough patch. The family has always been important to the black community because during this time that is all they had was each other. In the short story, the author explains how hard a black mother works to make a way despite the circumstance. In the story, the quilt symbolizes determination, love, and willingness to grind so that she and her children can be comfortable with life CITATION Whi00 l 1033 (Whitsitt).

The story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker gives the reader an intake of real-life struggles African Americans had to face. Society was against them because of their skin colour. They also had problems in their personal life. No matter how hard life got and how bad the narrator was treated by her kids, she never gave up. She never stopped loving and caring for her child, even though Dee did not appreciate her mother’s sacrifices. The narrator never asked for pity through all the trials and tribulations; all she wanted was to understand why people acted the way they did towards her and her people. This story is very significant to the black community because many do not indeed go into detail on the life of an African American woman. Black women are very powerful; they are the queens of society and deserve all the respect they receive CITATION Val21 l 1033 (Valdez).


BIBLIOGRAPHY Cowart, D. ” Heritage and deracination in walker’s “everyday use, .” Studies in Short Fiction (1996): 171-184. print .

Moore, J. R. V. “African american quilting and the art of being human: Theological aesthetics and womanist theological anthropology.” Anglican Theological Review, (2016): 457-478. print .

S., T.K. “Womanism in the select works of alice walker (Order No. 27732536).” Available from ProQuest One Literature (2013).

Valdez, J. (). “Scribbling women? race, gender, and womanhood in nineteenth-century american Women’s literature.” (2021).

von Ammon, J. L. “A selection of alice walker’s women:.” Ancestry, community, and the spirit (1996). print .

Whitsitt, S. “In spite of it all:.” A reading of alice walker’s “everyday use”.African American Review (2000): 443-459. print .