I Love You my Dear, but First Things First: Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" from In Love and Trouble
"Everyday Use" is a short story settled on the Sixties; an important decade which challenged the American social values. The short story was written by Alice Walker, a writer who belongs to the reduced group of black women writers who managed to made their voice universal. The short story contains a rich thematic and a wide symbology concerning African-American heritage, family values and family relationships. Hence, this paper attempts to analyze the treatment of these subjects taking into account the importance of the period the story takes place, the perspectives offered by the different characters and the role of the narrator. In order to do so, I will begin by revising the context of the short story so as to demonstrate the repercussion the decade of the 1960s had on the values addressed in the short story. In like manner, in an attempt to clarify the antecedents of the subjects discussed in "Everyday Use," I will examine the life and influences of Alice Walker, especially focusing on Zora Neale Hurston, the precursor of the contemporary group of female African-American writers, who previously dealt with themes such as African-American heritage and folklore. Subsequently, I will discuss the importance and the function of the narrator since it turns out to be a crucial factor regarding the understanding and the interpretation of the story. As an essential part of the story which determines the fate of the events, and which consequently helps me constructing my interpretation, I analyze the role of the three women of the short story as heritage and folklore keepers both through the symbols appearing in the story and their opposite identities. I conclude the paper by stating that each character in the story appreciates her legacy and family values from different perspectives. However, being the mother the narrator and the guide of the story, she becomes also the judge, and hence, the figure who helps us reaching the significance of the story.