The Theme of Jealousy Between Two Sisters in Everyday Use by Alice Walker

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“Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, written in 1944, narrates the story of black family composed of a Mother and her two daughters: Maggie and Dee. Dee is the oldest one. A point that we can easily notice as the story is developed is that Maggie is extremely jealous of her sister. She believes that her sister has a better life than she does.

The mother is the one that narrates the story, she makes different descriptions about both girls. The story has many examples to explain why Maggie believes that her sister has a better life. As we read the story, we can perceive that the idea of prejudice appears related to the fact that Maggie feels bad about her sister.

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Maggie is extremely jealous of her sister, she does not like the presence of Dee in her house. As her mother says in the story,” Maggie will be nervous until her sister goesleying her sister with a mixture of envy and awe.” She believes that her sister gets everything she wants; all she needs to do is ask somebody for what she wants. She thinks that, “no is a word that the world never learned to say to her.” From her point of view, Dee controls the world with her hands; she can do whatever she wants.

Another example that exposes the reality of Maggie is that even her mother treats them differently. Dee is the perfect girl while Maggie is just a normal person. Her mother dreams with Dee; even in her dreams she believes that Dee is perfect. In her dream, there are only three persons: Herself, Dee, and the TV guy. “Sometime I dream a dream in which De and I are suddenly brought together on a TV program” those were the words of her mother. Maggie’s name was never mentioned in the dream.

The descriptions that the mother makes of Maggie and Dee are completely different. “Dee is lighter than Maggie, with nice hair and fuller figure,” said the mother. “Her feet was always neat looking again the mother was referring to Dee. When she describes Maggie, she uses an analogy of a lame animal. Even the memories she had from their past are different. “Sometimes I can still hear the flames and feel Maggie’s arms sticking to me, her hair smoking and her dress falling off her in little black papery flakes.” Those were her memories of Maggie’s childhood. On the other hand, the memories of Dee’s childhood were all happy. She described a scene were “Dee is standing off under the sweet gum tree she used to dig gum out of” We can notice that even her mother treats them differently.

We can perceive as the story advances that there is an idea of prejudice in the story. Maggie has motives to believe that her sister has a better life than she has. Her mother, who was supposed to treat them equally, has preference for the older girl. She has plenty of reasons to feel jealous of her sister, in her situation, most of the people would feel the same way she does.

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The Theme of Jealousy Between Two Sisters in Everyday Use by Alice Walker. (2022, Dec 23). Retrieved from

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