Motherhood in Everyday Use and I Stand Here Ironing
In the story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker and “I Stand Here Ironing” by Tillie Olsen, there are many things that are addressed because of how both of these mother’s feel guilt over how her children ultimately turned out. Both mother’s criticized themselves for their daughters issues. “I Stand Here Ironing” is about the Mousy daughters, while “Everyday Use” is about her two daughter Maggie and Dee. Both of these stories address multiple problems of a mother’s guilt over how her child will turn out in the future. Neither of these mothers say they feel guilty but there is evidence, like in “Everyday Use” when Dee is trying to take the quilts and the churn. In “I Stand Here Ironing” the mother explains why she feels guilty about her daughter Emily. She explains the things she did and didn’t do as a mother. Both of these stories are very similar and have many similarities and differences on how these mothers have parrented their daughters.
These two stories share very similar themes about motherhood. In “I Stand Here Ironing” the mother feels guilty about leaving her children in inadequate care to go to work to support her family. In both stories there are difficulties between siblings. In “Everyday Use” when Dee arrives she comes looking different and Maggie and Mama isn’t used to it. After the fight over the quilt Dee gets ready to leave and says to Maggie ‘You ought to try to make something of yourself, too, Maggie. It’s really a new day for us. But from the way you and Mama still live you’d never know it.’ (Walker 10382). Another similarity we see in both stories is both mothers comparing their daughters to each other. Again in “Everyday Use” Mama tells us that because Maggie was burned in a fire, “Dee is lighter than Maggie, with nicer hair and a fuller figure.” (Walker 10257). We also learned of Dee’s style, and how the other girl’s love to stare because of how fashionable she is. The mother in “I Stand Here Ironing” speaks of Emily as “dark and thin and foreign looking in a world where the prestige went to blondeness and curly hair and dimples, she was slow, where glibness was prized.” (Olsen 9977). Like Maggie, Emily had a physical disability also. She has asthma. Although both stories have similarities it Continues throughout both stories the theme of the sibling differences and sibling rivalries.
In “I Stand Here Ironing” Olsen illustrated the meaning of the iron, which can be compared to Walkers quilt in “Everyday Use.” In “I Stand Here Ironing,” The meaning of the creases means the hardships that the mother has had to face, and the iron means the back, and forth to make ends meet for your children. The mother explains that, “I stand here ironing, and what you ask me moves tormented back and forth with the iron.” (Olsen 9850). Her emotions from being a single mother are being poured onto that iron. Similarly, In “Everyday Use” the quilt symbolizes a way to mend conflict. Also heritage. The quilts go back from generation to generation and that is why Dee wants them. Theme of these stories seem to be motherhood and making sure your children have everything they need and making sure they are well respected and that they respect their elders as well.
In both short stories, the two parents were struggling to make ends meet. They were faced with the conflict of trying to be the best mothers they would and be what society expected of them. Being a mother was hard, especially when you have children with disabilities to care for. Both mothers of these mothers are poor, but at the same time learn more about motherhood than ever before. In both stories both of their daughters are opposites, one follows along with the trend of society while the other doesn’t. In “ I stand here ironing” the mother says “she was a child seldom smiled at. Her father left me before she was a year old. I worked six years when there was work, or I sent her home to his relatives.” (Olsen 9979) The mother here is alone and only wants the best for her daughter and in times like this you do what you have to do for the good of your child. At the end of both stories both mothers realize that there is more to motherhood than they thought they knew. But despite all of this both mothers want what is best for their child and at the end realize that there is more to motherhood than they initially believed and that no matter how old your child is, they are never too old to receive support.
In conclusion I think both of these mothers realize their daughters are okay the way they are. In the story “I Stand Here Ironing” the mother let her life go on without trying to make any attempt at trying to change it. She hopes that one day maybe her daughters won’t be like her and take control of their lives. In both stories both mother’s have ultimately come to accept their daughters limitations. Despite the hardships that each mother faced, each story ends with hope and the realization that unconditional love is more valuable. While these women sometimes lose control they still never lost their dignity. In both stories ‘Everyday Use’ and ‘I Stand Here Ironing’ there are two mothers who after reading would endure anything. They have overcome trauma, abandonment, and both had struggles with their chidlren but both women have seemed to keep a solid relationship with their family. Although both mother faced different struggles, they handled them with confidence. Emily and Dee’s mother, both, loved and provided for their children right until the last sentence. These women went through something that not many have gone through in life. They are strong women, with a gentle heart.
Analysis Of The Narrator in “Everyday Use” By Alice Walker
An unreliable narrator is a narrator that only tells their side of the story, or one side of the story, that’s why they are an unreliable narrator. In “Everyday Use” our narrator is telling this story about her life and her children, she is speaking in a first person narrative, the story is told through Mama, an uneducated, rural Georgia, black woman, she is only person narrating the whole thing, she’s also the central character. She’s the protagonist, she is a very likeable, sympathetic person. She seems to care a lot about other people’s feelings and she’s been through some pretty hard times. She also talks in a friendly, conversational way. All of this means that we are only supposed to see things from her point of view.
As much as we might like our point of view we’ve always got to be a little wary when every view we get of the other characters is filtered through that one character’s perspective. The danger is that we’re only getting one character’s take on all the other characters and events in the story and we can’t always know right off the bat whether we can trust that character to tell us the real deal. For instance, as much as it seems like we’re getting a glimpse of Dee in the following passage, we’ve got to keep in mind that we’re just getting the narrator’s impressions of her. She observes: “Dee wanted nice things. A yellow organdy dress to wear to her graduation from high school […] She was determined to stare down any disaster in her efforts.” Mama admits from an early point that she never understood Dee and the she and her older daughter clashed from the time that she was a young girl.
Because Mama doesn’t understand Dee, she was hurt by Dee and Dee’s urgency to escape Georgia, escape the South and escape her family. When Dee comes back from school with a new Muslim boyfriend and a name change and suddenly claims that she understands her past and wants to preserve it, Mama was confused, hurt and angry. She lashed out towards Dee in the only way she knew how, by painting a negative picture of her to the reader and by denying her the quilt that she so desperately wants.
On the other had Mama thought that Maggie was the one that made it she knows how to live off of the land just as she does. Mama doesn’t really ever talk bad about Maggie; she gives her more sympathy than she gives Dee. Also Mama says that Dee makes Maggie nervous in the beginning of the story. I felt that she was blaming Dee for Maggie’s injuries. Mama describes Maggie as a partially educated child who does not look as appealing as her older sister. Maggie was burned in a house fire that left her scared all over her body. She does not wear revealing clothes, nor does she attract men as Dee does.
However, Maggie does not want to get in the way of her sister and when Dee wants the quilt, Maggie tells Mama just to let her have it. But Mama seems determined to put her foot down and finally stand up to Dee so she insists that Maggie take the quilt despite Dee’s protests that the quilt will then just be for “everyday use.”
Role Of Society in Everyday Use Short Story
One Day Use
Final: Rewritten Narrative for “Everyday Use”
Society’s investment in whiteness forces people of color to suppress elements of their cultural identities to comply with white uniformity. I believe that adding to the narrative of “Everyday Use” and illuminating the experiences of the character Dee, or Wangero, will present to the reader how this investment functions. Dee expresses this common act of people of color where they erase certain pieces of their identity in order to conform. In my narrative, not only is white conformity present for Dee, there is a need for her to conform to the Black community. These different parallels will be expressed through different periods of her life. I want to add to Dee’s childhood and continue to her life before her visit back home from college. Familial relationships also help to illuminate this struggle of conformity and erasure of one’s home life. I think it is important to reexamine the relationship between not only Dee and Mama but also introduce and explore the relationship between Grandmama and Dee. In order to express the ways Dee has suppressed pieces of her identity to match society’s standards, I want to highlight her experiences with some of my own. Combining Dee’s experiences with the expectations of society’s definition of Blackness, one can better relate and view Dee’s behavior through a clearer lense.
Greased fingers intertwined with hair all down her scalp, creating a pattern row after row. Dee remembered this time to keep still and to hold onto each section while Grandmama braided the other sections. “These will last you all week if you keep out that dirt. This is probably the best job I done, ” Grandmama told Dee as she smiled down at her. Dee excitedly sprinted to the mirror, almost running into it. She ran her hand down the back of her head, feeling the texture of the two tight braids.
“Thank you Grandmama! I hope my new friends and my new teacher will like it.”
“And if they don’t?” Grandmama asked.
“Then they don’t have no sense!” Dee stated confidently with her one-toothed smile. Her eyes ran up and down her tiny figure in the mirror, catching the safety pin on her brown corduroy skirt that was two sizes too big and the black leather sandals. She was especially excited to wear the dark green sweater Mama got her for her first day. Dee noticed Grandmama had left the room and came back with a faded yellow turtleneck. “I wanted you to wear this on your first day Dee. It was your mother’s when she was in school and I believe I seen’t lots of kids wearing ones just like it at the store yesterday. It got a little hole it in but you can’t tell.” Dee’s smile grew as she put it over her head and tugged it down to her waist. It was a perfect fit and helped her complete her perfect outfit for her first day. “I love it Grandmama, thank you! I’m gonna have the sharpest outfit there.”
“Yes you are.” Grandmama chuckled.
Dee was excited to start at the school that Mama claimed was for smart kids. Since Maggie was back, Mama said Dee was finally allowed to start school. Every time Maggie left, so did Mama, and Dee was left with Grandmama at the house. Sometimes Dee liked it better that way.
“We best get going, your Mama will have a fit if you are late on your first day,” Grandmama called at her as she started to get ready to walk out the door. “You know how that big ol’ woman gets when she’s mad.” Frightened from her mother’s past behaviors, Dee grabbed her lunch sack and ran out the door before Grandmama could say anything else.
As they walked to Dee’s new school, Grandmama had Dee count to 30 and then state all the colors of the rainbow, primary and secondary. By the time Dee was done, they were in front of a big white two-story building. Kids were on the playground adjacent to the building and running up the steps through the two big wooden doors. A pit in Dee’s stomach started to form, and she turned frantically to her Grandmama, asking with her eyes if she really had to go. Grandmama gave her a stern look back causing Dee to gulp and take a step forward.
“Dee, I got to get back to Maggie. But, I’ll be right here waiting when you finish,” said Grandmama, “so don’t you worry now, you will be just fine. Now, go make some friends and learn something new for Grandmama, alright Dee?” Dee nodded, and gulped again. She started up the large grey steps and took one last look at Grandmama before she walked through the doors. Grandmama smiled and waved as she turned back down the street towards home.
Dee walked through the doors, coming to a long hallway of classroom doors and lots of other children walking, laughing, and talking. They were dressed in numerous different shades of pinks, greens, blues and yellows. A large bell sound rang throughout the hallways and the children began to start entering the classroom doors. Some glanced her way and some barely noticed her. Her eyes darted from door to door with different letters and numbers, which helped her remember the room that Mama told her to go to for her class.
“11B…11B…11B…” Dee whispered to herself as she passed 7A, then 9B, then finally 11B. The door was already open, with most kids inside already. A tall white woman was finishing up writing sentences on the chalkboard as Dee walked up to her.
“He… hel-hello…” Dee almost whispered. The woman spun around and an insincere huge smile that was already planted on her face.
“HI! WELCOME! WELCOME!” The woman jittered up and down with her hands pressed so tight together that her knuckles started to turn white. “Are you Dee? You must be Dee.”
“Yes… I am Dee,” she replied.
“Dee is in 11B! Doesn’t that have a ring to it?” Dee started to look around the room as the children began to pay attention to the hyper woman. “I am Ms. Daley, your teacher. I am so excited that you will be joining us.” She turned towards the children in the class.
“Okay y’all, class is starting, let’s get to our seats. I have some super exciting news for you all.” She said as she leaned in towards the class.
She wailed her arms out towards the class and introduced Dee. “This is Dee, she will be joining our class a little late, but I trust you all will bring her up to speed.”
“Why do your hair look like that?” one of the girls in the front of the classroom immediately blurted out. “My momma got a extra pressing comb if you want someone to fix that mess on your head.” The class giggled while Dee’s eyes shot down to the floor in embarrassment.
Ms. Daley turned to the girl and scolded her. “Shirley! We will be respectful to our new student.” Ms. Daley tightly clasped Dee’s shoulder and gave her a firm shake. She nudged Dee towards a desk in the third row. “Go ahead and have a seat so we can begin.”
While eyes followed her to the third row, Dee plopped down in the seat and sighed. As Ms. Daley went over the colors of the rainbow, Dee snuck looks at the other children inside the room. As she did in the hallway, she saw nothing but bright colors on clothing pieces like freshly pressed dresses, frilly socks, fancy blouses, flared bottoms and jumpers.
The extravagant clothing around her forced her to look down at her own outfit, especially her frumpy brown shoes. A crumpled piece of paper was thrown at her feet. She looked up and saw Shirley making a face, her eyes darting from Dee to the note. Dee picked it up and unraveled it revealing scribbled writing that said:
My momma said those shoes are made for little girls who are poor. Also, you got big feet.
After the class was dismissed for recess, Dee was reluctant to get up right away, embarrassed by her dull outfit. Her fingers grasped her sweater as she finally got the courage to walk with the class. She stood out amongst her classmates like a weed in a bed of roses. Dee followed the children to the playground and paid special attention to the other Black girls. She watched the movement of their sleek, dark hair and watched them play double dutch with the shiny patent shoes on their feet. The happiness expressed on their faces with their gleaming smiles reminded Dee of the way Mama smiles when Maggie is home.
She walked to the bathroom, taking out the braids Grandmama placed in her head that morning. She raked her hands through her coarse hair and tried to pull the strands of her hair down and pull her kinks and curls straight with her fingers. She smoothed down the sides of her hair, just like how the other girls did it. She took a look at the gaping hole in her turtleneck, as if it was waiting to be filled by something more than just cloth and thread.
When school was over, Grandmama was waiting for for Dee exactly where she said she would be.
“See you tomorrow Shirley! And don’t forget to ask your momma.” Dee yelled as she waved and walked away from her new friend and towards her Grandmama.
“You made a friend? And ask her momma about what now?” Grandmama questioned as Dee handed her lunch box to her.
“Shirley said her momma gots a hot comb that I could use for my hair. She said it’s too nappy but she can fix it with the hot comb if I come over her house.”
“You don’t need to fix nothing, your hair is beautiful as is. You better not let nobody tell you different.” Grandmama told her, but Dee’s mind was somewhere else. She was thinking of what she could wear tomorrow to match the other kids at school. She had a blue skirt she could wear that looked like Shirley’s and a orange blouse that belonged to Maggie that she borrowed sometimes.
“Dee?” Grandmama tried to get her attention. “Dee?”
“Hold on Grandmama, I’m thinking.” Grandmama sighed and looked around at the other children, reminding her to pick up Maggie’s prescription before they went home.
“Well I hope you had a good first day.”
“I did.” Dee replied. While Grandmama glanced down at Dee she noticed a familiar shade of yellow in the corner of her eye off in the distance. As she looked closer, she realized it was the yellow turtleneck on the ground in the mud, as if it was meant to be hidden. She turned back to Dee and saw the dried up mud on the sides of her shoes.
“Dee, what happened to that turtleneck I gave you earlier?”
“Oh, I spilled something on it and I lost it.” Dee said, while careful not to move her gaze in the direction of the turtleneck on the floor.
Grandmama said nothing more and turned away from Dee as tears started to form in her eyes. “So, if Shirley’s momma says I can come over, can I go get my hair pressed?” Dee asked.
“Of course, baby.” Grandmama replied, not able to make eye contact with her granddaughter.
“Mama!” Dee called out. “Maggie!” There was no reply. “We are going to be late. I’m going to be late.”
Dee paced back and forth, her eyes avoiding the portrait of Grandmama on the wall. Years later, and the house still felt different without her presence, however nothing has changed. On the walls, the same pictures were still hanging, and the burgundy couch with three rips and one hole in it remained at the center of the room. Dee was still the only one who used the couch, even though every time she sat down the rip grew bigger. Dee frantically ran up a few stairs in her chunky black kitten heels and yelled up the staircase, “Hello? I know you guys can hear me. I refuse to be late.”
“We coming.” Mama said, but she thought to herself of what she really wanted to say to Dee. ‘You better calm yourself down, I don’t know who in the hell you think you’re talking to. Just because you are entering college now don’t mean jackshit, I will still slap you into next week if you disrespect me girl.’ Every stair creaked as she placed each foot down.
“Okay, but in order to make orientation on time, we have to leave now. The car still needs to be packed as well.” Dee was extremely nervous, and while she didn’t mean to take it out on Mama and Maggie, they were making it easy to do so. She turned back towards the staircase.“Where is Maggie?”
“Right here, let’s go.” Maggie said as she ran down the stairs and planted herself in front of the door.
“Alright let’s get moving then.” Mama told them both. As Mama loaded the car, Dee slid on her yellow peacoat. She was proud of her outfit, with a cream colored pressed skirt and a new white blouse from that new department store that opened up down the street at the mall. Her hair was pressed, as usual, to a bone-straight style with a heavenly vanilla scent. She decided on a muted pink lipstick and a touch of blush to her cheeks.
Dee was not only nervous, but also excited to be starting school at a Historically Black College, where she would be surrounded by other Black people with similar goals and aspirations as her. Future Black lawyers and doctors excited her, compared to the Blacks at her high school who just wanted to be apart of that Panther group that always started trouble. She was excited to finally be around people like her.
The whole two hour drive Dee listened to her favorite Paul McCartney tape and tried to predict what her new institution would look like and what it would embody. She didn’t know the exact discipline she wanted to study, but she know that she was going to be successful in doing so.
Once they got to their destination of Dee’s new school, Mama unloaded the car and they all said their goodbyes. Dee watched the car drive off in the distance as she was left to check-in and move into her room.
Dee entered the large room of melanated people and her eyes instantly met with a pair of hazel ones about five feet away. It was a man who was dressed in all-black, a leather jacket and a yellow beret. He smirked as crinkles formed in the corner of his eyes. Dee smiled back. His hands were wrapped around a camera, which he lifted up to his eyes and pressed his index finger to the shutter button. Snap! The sound of the shutter made a click as a flash temporarily blinded Dee. She felt her face grow hot as his smile grew while he assessed the photo. He nodded towards her, then turned in another direction walking away.
She watched as he snapped pictures of other women with large afros, extremely revealing cropped shirts, flared jeans and sky-high platforms. “Beautiful!” He even shouted out to one of the women. Dee’s eyes wandered around the room as she noticed it was filled with afros and bared midriffs. She could not find a single head of pressed hair, neither pressed pencil skirts and heels. She ran her fingers through her hair surveying the room one last time. How were all these students going to be lawyers and doctors if they looked this way? Dee thought to herself, perplexed. She ran her finger through her straight hair one last time before spinning around on her kitten heels and walking out the door.
It was a little after midnight when Dee heard a knock on her door. She put down the magazine she was flipping through and looked around startled. She just finished wrapping her hair and changing into her nightgown; it was the one that she took from Grandmama’s drawer when she passed. Dee frantically walked around the room and then finally ended up at the door. As she creeped opened the door, she hoped that it wasn’t anyone important seeing her in this state. She was met with a familiar pair of hazel eyes and a yellow beret.
“Hey.” He said as his eyes landed on her nightgown, causing him to chuckle. “I wanted to give you this.”
Dee was still in shock from her unexpected visitor to where she barely noticed his hand reached out to her holding something small and square. She glanced down and saw it was the photograph he took of her earlier. There were others around her all dressed up in colorful and trendy outfits and she was there in her peacoat and pressed skirt out of place. A frown started to form as she realized she was again, a weed in a bed of roses. The man saw Dee’s reaction and said, “Damn my skills that bad?”
“No, no. Not at all.” Dee said as feelings of distress came over her. “I’m just unsure if I made the right decision to come here. I don’t think I fit in here and it isn’t what I expected.”
“I don’t see why, your tignon is looking groovy as hell girl.”
Dee touched her headscarf and realized what he actually mean. “Oh, yeah. My grandma taught me how to tie it when I was younger.” Dee made a mental note to research what a tignon was.
“She was definitely doing something.” He smiled and snapped another picture of her. “If you don’t mind, I’m gonna keep this one. What’s your name by the way beautiful?”
“Well goodnight Dee.”
“Goodnight!” She called after the nameless man as he strolled away. She walked up to the mirror in her room and traced her fingertips along the scarf and smiled. Grandma most certainly did do something.
Cultural Issues in Everyday Use Book
The Theme of Cultural Conflict in Alice Walker’s Everyday Use
Every individual has a culture and every culture has a history. Cultural heritage is the expression of how the history of a culture relates to the present. Everyday Use by Alice Walker presents a conflict between a post-slavery African American and her daughter, who fights to distance herself from her mother and embrace African culture. Everyday Use shows the opinions of two classes of people about the value and purpose of cultural heirlooms.
Walker begins the story by developing the characters. Narrating the story is the mother of the two other main characters, Dee and Maggie. The narrator, known as Mama, describes herself as a practical woman capable of everything a man is. She compares herself to a version of herself that she dreams of, where she has fair skin, a shapely figure, and is conventionally attractive. In reality, she is none of these things (Walker 2715).
The dream version of herself is based on her daughter named Dee. Dee, who calls herself “Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo,” has embraced her idea of African American cultural heritage. Rejecting her birth name based on the “cultural oppression” (Walker 2718) she opts to use an Africanized name. This distances her from her family, as even her mother has trouble memorizing and pronouncing it (Walker 2718).
When Dee first speaks in the story, she greets her family with an African greeting. Her significant other, known as Hakim-a-barber, greets her family with an Arab greeting. This is confusing to Mama. Hakim-a-barber’s greeting is taken by Mama to be his name, and she mistakes his name for Asalamalakim until she was corrected (Walker 2718). Mama, even though she has the same heritage as Dee, struggles to comprehend the African references that her daughter and her significant other make. Even though she her generation is less removed from Africa, she has done her very best to integrate into American society. On the other hand, Dee has made attempts to embrace African culture that she has never experienced.
Dee is attracted to the homemade, shabby, or otherwise well-worn items in her mother’s house. From the benches they sat on at dinner, to the butter churn, to the dasher. She announces that she wants them to display in her house. She says, “I can use the churn top as a centerpiece for the alcove table,” and “I’ll think of something artistic to do with the dasher” (Walker 2719). Dee’s purpose for these objects is much different than from how Mama and Maggie use them. To them, the objects are essential parts of life and are used in a utilitarian manner. While they do represent the heritage, Mama and Maggie value their memory of their family and the people who created them as opposed to Dee’s valuation of the culture that led to their creation.
Dee’s materialism distances her from her family. The items that she wishes to use for decoration are important to the daily life of her mother and sister. The climax of the story occurs as Dee asks Mama for a pair of home sewn quilts made by older family members. When Mama mentions that they were promised to Maggie, Dee reveals her true intentions. She says, “She’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use” (Walker 2720). This quote, which includes the title of the story highlights the difference in cultural ideals between Dee and her family. Quilts which were sewn for the purpose of warmth are wanted as symbols of her culture to be displayed.
Dee’s rejection of her birth name passed down through her family is, according to her, an attempt to free herself from the shackles of oppression. This makes her attachment to her family’s handmade articles strange, as they could also be considered products of her culture’s oppression. However, her concern for them is not unfounded. Both Mama and Maggie take little care to preserve the articles that they seem to value just as much as Dee. The everyday use of these things would result in them wearing out or being damaged far quicker than preserving and displaying them as decorations.
As someone who received the most education in her family, Dee has a different outlook on life. She seems to be in a better socioeconomic class than her mother, as she and her significant other own a car. To her, it is shocking that family heirlooms would be used and not preserved for future generations. These articles are meaningful to her as a memory of her family and the history of her culture.
Everyday Use presents a contrast between how Dee and her mother embrace their culture. The college-educated Dee wants family heirlooms to be preserved as reminders of the past, while her working-class mother would opt to simply use them for their original purpose. Mama and Maggie, both presented as simple people, are bothered by Dee’s materialistic behavior. While Walker’s writing gives preference to the opinions of Mama and Dee, it allows the reader to have insight into why Dee feels the way she does. As she has advanced herself in life, the things help preserve the memories of the past. However, her family has no need to remember the past; they are still living in it.
Everyday Use Of Remote Sensing
I still remember my very first day to my college because after a long day at college, going back to my PG was so confusing that I entered in many unknown lanes of Kamla Nagar. Lost in a new city, my rescuer was not a man-in-cape but an application in my cell phone. I remember tracing my steps back to my new residence because of a GIS locator application, which I installed a few days back. It pinpointed my location by tracing it back from my timeline, thus guiding me all the way around. Being a geography student I thus, figured that the technology of GIS and Remote Sensing was not limited to my course syllabus and college books but were practically much more than that. Introduction of a technology that was earlier unfamiliar to this world Remote Sensing made a significant change in the past few years.
The technology of remote sensing was earlier known as aerial photography that became popular post-WWII. The term ‘remote sensing’ was initially introduced in 1960. Since the 1960s, there has been a wide range of sensors and other instruments designed to enhance the use of remote sensing. Today, there are many tools that are available for the use of remote sensing in different studies like groundwater exploration, flood mapping, planning and delineation and so on.
This essay will deal with different uses of remote sensing in everyday life. From the most important purposeful data that a remote sensing satellite provides to the everyday entertainment purposes, the list goes on. So, let us discuss in detail the everyday use of remote sensing. The first and foremost operation of remote sensing that saves thousands of lives every day is in the field of Disaster Management. Disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes have a huge impact on life and property and cost billion dollars damage every year. Here comes the role of our scientists and remote sensing satellites that study these weather disturbances and give ample time for people to prepare beforehand. Similarly, many land storms are studied using this technology and help in becoming more resilient to natural disasters. Remote sensing also helps to map disaster-affected regions. With the aerial technology combined the government and rescuers can provide instant aid based on the range of most affected regions to the least affected regions.
Remote sensing satellites can help in the field of environment as well. They can take aerial pictures of soil and can determine the soil moisture content, thereby helping to fix the problems like desertification, soil salinity, etc. They also play an important role in identifying forest lands and tallying the forest resources. It is due to this latest technology of remote sensing, that we found that the evergreen forests are shrinking and their capacity as ‘carbon sinks’ is being hampered. Remote sensing helps to mark the changes that are appearing on daily basis. The problem of climate change is also being assessed using remote sensing satellites where the rise in sea levels is monitored. From the reduction in natural vegetation to the drying of a river, everything is marked and analysed using remote sensing. From the viewpoint of resource geography, this technology is playing a vital role in studying topography and also in studying the land-use/land cover. The latest remark of remote sensing was the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ that helped oceanographers to study the large patch of waste flowing into the ocean and causing damage to marine life. Now, the oceanographers and environmentalists can keep an eye on the floating patch and are working to reduce the level of waste thrown in oceans by continuously assessing the aerial images over the Pacific Ocean.
Remote sensing has been very useful for man to explore the potentially available resources. These resources that are otherwise inaccessible are discovered due to multiple satellite images. These could be oil and natural gas reserves that could be situated far away from land and are detected in the satellite images. The technology of remote sensing has also helped in combating illegal use of resources. It has tracked down unwarranted and unlicensed cutting of evergreen forests or mining of prohibited land and mines. Thus, it has also helped to curb down the illegal activities. Thus, when it comes to marking the changes man-made or natural, the technology of remote sensing has proven to be very efficient and helpful.
Remote sensing isn’t just significant in the above fields but also has been very useful in the field of tourism information. Many satellites track the moment of the migratory birds as well as migrations like wildebeests to areas where they go for breeding, collecting food, etc. As forests are decreasing at a rapid rate this technology comes in handy for not only environmentalists but also the nature enthusiasts. Remote sensing applications in biodiversity are beginning to play a major role in keeping a track on changing biodiversity. With a better resolution of sensors that are being used the growth and extinction of different species can be tracked down easily. Similarly, hydrologists can study the change of water bodies and the way it is affecting the breeding of marine animals. Hence, being very useful for the tourists, environmentalists and wildlife enthusiasts, for people who are sports fanatic, remote sensing here too might play an important role for them, as big outdoor matches can be planned according to the game-forecast.
Last, but not the least remote sensing is being used by urban planners across the globe and this use is directly linked to our everyday life. It is the government that is planning a particular town or city which is helping us in tackling the problem of everyday life. For instance, according to the data the Richland country has used advanced Remote Sensing techniques coupled with GIS to create 3D models of the region. They are also using the same technique to monitor the problem of parking by introducing multi-level parking systems and creating various models.
Thus, to conclude Remote Sensing has been playing a vital role in day-to-day life. It is a progressively advancing field and is getting better with each passing day. Today, many researchers are developing a variety of fields to make remote sensing more accessible and reachable to the masses. Because of its versatility, it can be easily manipulated and interpreted by commons too. The use of remote sensing with coming time and its applicability in every field we think of will help man and technology to work simultaneously to develop a better technological world with sustainable development and optimum use of resources.
A Role Of family in Everyday Use by Alice Walker
Everyday Use by Alice Walker is a short story depicting a hard-working black mother, and her two very different daughters. To some, it is a story about a mother finally standing up to an ungrateful daughter; to others, it is a story of heritage. It can also be taken as a story of family, and the dynamics that make up this one. There are the two daughters, Dee and Maggie, whose differences are obvious, and because of that, Mama treats them differently. At the end of this tale, Mama acts very differently herself.
Often times in families, mothers and daughters do not agree. While this is not the direct problem for Mama and her daughters, there are subtle issues between Mama and Dee. Mama loves Dee very much, but Dee wanted “nice things” (257), and has more of an education than her mama. Mama, however, describes herself as “a large, big boned woman with rough, man working hands”(256), who “can kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man”(256). Mama admits that she never had an education, but wanted Dee to. She worked hard to provide Dee with a college education, and when Dee comes home for a visit one day, one would think that Dee doesn’t appreciate it; that Dee is simply snobby, and a taker.
The issue arises when Dee and her new beau are visiting and having lunch with Mama and Maggie. Dee begins to ask to take certain things with her when she and Hakim.a.barber depart. Everything Dee requests to take with her, she knows nothing of the heritage behind it. But Maggie does. For while Maggie is the quieter, and more shy of the two sisters, she knows her background, and her family stories; she is proud of them. In all of Dee’s eagerness to leave the house she grew up in and her family behind, she never bothered to learn. Maybe it’s because Dee thought she was better than her family; or maybe she just didn’t care.
So when Dee asks Mama for the quilts, the quilts that, as David White said “have a special meaning to Mama. When she moves up to touch the quilts, she is reaching out to touch the people whom the quilts represent.” Mama tries to talk Dee into taking other things, for she knows that Dee doesn’t really know the family story behind the quilts, nor appreciate it. Mama loves Dee, but for once, she is putting her foot down on this particular subject. As Juan R. Velazquez states:
“Dee, in other words, has moved towards other traditions that go against the traditions and heritage of her own family: she is on a quest to link herself to her African roots and has changed her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo. In doing so, in attempting to recover her “ancient” roots, she has at the same time denied, or at least refused to accept, her more immediate heritage, the heritage that her mother and sister share.”
This story is full of symbolism, with the quilts being a good focal point. They mean something to Maggie and Mama, for they realize their immediate background behind them. Those quilts are practically family heirloom, and that’s something that Dee just doesn’t seem to understand. While Dee may be educated, becoming “cultured” and “going back to her roots”, she never bothered to learn about or appreciate her past that was right there in her home, as Maggie did. That is why, in the end, Mama stood up to Dee, and refused to let her have the quilts. Mama gave the quilts to Maggie, the daughter who didn’t really get as much as Dee, and wasn’t as “educated” as Dee, but she would certainly appreciate the quilts more, and put to everyday use. It was made by the family with love, to be used by the family with love, not to just hang somewhere, as Dee planned to do with them. Also, Maggie has literally been burned before; perhaps Mama felt guilt and realized that Maggie always grew up in Dee’s shadows, and that her youngest deserved nice things, too.
A family is what makes up a home; and Dee failed to realize that. She successfully got out and “did better” for herself, but in the end, never really learned about the people behind her that in one way or another helped her get there.
“Everyday Use” by Alice Walker
“Everyday Use”, a short story written by Alice Walker, is told in the perspective of Mama. Mama is described as “a big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands”. The story begins with Mama waiting on her oldest daughter Dee to arrive home. It is learned that Mama and the church raised enough money to send Dee to school in Augusta. Mama waits with Dee’s younger sister Maggie. Due to burns she received in a house fire, Maggie is extremely shy and insecure. She is also very envious of Dee, as she is everything that Maggie is not. While waiting, Mama fantasizes about reuniting with Dee on a television program where the child who has “made it” is confronted by their parents. Mama dreams that on this show, Dee would pin orchids to her dress and thank her for helping her find success.
When Dee finally arrives, she is joined by her boyfriend, Hakim-a-barber. Hakim-a-barber attempts to greet Mama and Maggie, but Maggie recoils from him. Meanwhile, Dee gets her camera from the car and begins to take pictures of Mama and Maggie in front of the house. When she is finished, she puts the camera away and kisses Mama on the forehead. When Mama calls Dee by her name, she proceeds to inform her that she has changed her name to “Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo”, as she no longer wanted to be named after the people who oppressed her.
They all go inside to eat. Hakim-a-barber announces that he does not eat collards and pork was unclean. Dee, however, eats everything that Mama has to offer. She is especially delighted at the fact that the family still uses the benches her father made for the table. Soon after, Dee asks Mama if she can have the family’s butter churn and dasher. She reveals that she will use the churn top as a centerpiece for her table, and the dasher to serve some other artistic purpose.
Next, Dee stumbles upon some old quilts made by her mother, aunt, and grandmother. Dee asks her mother for the quilts. Mama suggests that she takes any of the other quilts. However, Dee insists on the quilts hand stitched by her grandmother. Mama finally reveals that she promised those quilts to Maggie for when she got married. Dee is offended. She argues that Maggie can’t appreciate the quilts and won’t be able to preserve them. Mama in turn argues that she hopes Maggie does put them to everyday use, and that she can always make more since she knows how to quilt.
In an attempt to restore peace, Maggie offers Dee the quilts. However, when Mama looked at Maggie, she was struck with a feeling she got when she was in church. This feeling motivated her to snatch the quilts out of Dee’s arms and give them to Maggie, where she felt they belonged. She again tells Dee that she can have one of the other quilts. Dee decides to leave instead.
Upon leaving, Dee tells Mama that she does not understand her own heritage. She also tells Maggie that’s it is a new day for black people and that she should try to make something of her self. The story ends with Mama and Maggie watching Dee and Hakim-a-barber drive off, then sitting outside until the sun went down.
Religious Ideas in “Everyday Use”
According to feminist theory, cultural definitions of gender roles can be patriarchal or antipatriarchal (Tyson, 83-86). In the short story “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker depicts her characters’ gender roles as antipatriarchal in the feminist theory context. Specifically, this idea is present in Mama’s physical appearance, the activities she partakes in, and her refusal to submit to authoritative figures. In addition, Walker positively depicts antipatriarchal ideology through the character of Mama, especially when she violates traditional patriarchal gender roles.
Feminist theory examines the ways in which identity is molded by the cultural definitions of gender roles. According to feminist theory, there are two types of ideologies, patriarchal and antipatriarchal. In patriarchal societies, men hold all or most positions of power, while women are oppressed and have little opportunity. Patriarchal gender roles are very traditional, meaning that men are masculine, strong, powerful providers, though sometimes violent; and women tend to be feminine, submissive, nurturing, and motherly. Patriarchal thought praises individuals who embody these characteristics and condemns those who challenge them, while antipatriarchal philosophy does just the opposite (Tyson 83-85).
In “Everyday Use,” Mama takes on the roles of the man of the house and is praised for doing so, reflecting antipatriarchal ideas in the text (Tyson 99). She has no male provider, but Mama works hard to care for her family. She takes on the role of the head of the house and tends to stereotypically masculine duties, embodying the traditional gender roles of a man.
The opening line of the story is, “I will wait for her in the yard that Maggie and I made so clean and wavy yesterday afternoon,” (Walker 274) and immediately paints a picture of Mama’s ability to do manual labor. Walker goes on to illustrate the importance of keeping a good, clean yard, as it is “like an extended living room” (Walker 274), thereby praising Mama for her efforts.
The strong, violent nature of traditional male gender roles is evident in Mama. In the text she describes some of the activities she partakes in:“I can kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man…I can work outside all day, breaking ice to get water for washing; I can eat pork liver cooked over the open fire in minutes after it comes steaming from the hog. One winter I knocked a bull calf straight in the brain between the eyes with a sledge hammer and had the meat hung up to chill before nightfall” (275).
Mama’s actions and her success in performing traditionally male duties to provide for her family require her to be powerful, both physically and emotionally, and force her to embrace a violent nature, rather than a motherly, nurturing one.
Mama’s physical appearance is also very masculine. She refers to herself as “a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands” (275) who chews tobacco and wears overalls to work in during the day and pajamas made of flannel at night, which are clothes generally worn by working men. in the story, Walker suggests that Mama does not think of herself as beautiful. She believes her daughter would like her to be “a hundred pounds lighter… [with] skin like an uncooked barley pancake” (275). Rather than be oppressed by these patriarchal ideas of society, Mama rises above them, and is confident of what she is able to accomplish on her own.
In “Everyday Use”, Dee also embodies masculine roles by taking the place of Mama’s absent husband. Dee attends school and is well educated, a freedom rarely attained by women during that time. She refuses to be “oppressed” by a name that was given to her family by slave owners, which cause her to reject her heritage and feel a sense of superiority over her family. Dee believes she is entitled to the family quilts because she is educated. However, Mama believes otherwise.
Mama claims to have already promised Dee’s desired quilts to Maggie. Dee argues that Maggie cannot appreciate them and therefore she fights for the “priceless” artifacts. Atypical of patriarchal society, Mama refuses to submit to Dee, who is a masculine figure. In stories with a more patriarchal point of view, women are often forced to give in to authoritative tormenters, but Mama takes stands up for herself.
By applying feminist theory to Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use,” it is possible to examine the cultural definitions of gender roles as formed by patriarchal or antipatriarchal ideas. In the short story, Mama participates in activities typically performed by men, has a traditionally masculine physical appearance, and refuses to submit to authoritative figures. According to traditional patriarchal ideology, mothers should should be feminine, nurturing, motherly, and submissive, yet Walker depicts Mamas just the opposite. Mama defies everything a traditional woman should be, according to patriarchal beliefs, but Walker celebrates her. Therefore, “Everyday Use” exemplifies antipatriarchal ideology.
Tyson, Lois. “Using Concepts from Feminist Theory to Understand Literature.” Learning for a
Diverse World: Using Critical Theory to Read and Write about Literature. New York, NY: Routledge, 2001. 83-85. Print.
Walker, Alice. “Everday Use.” Learning For a Diverse World: Using Critical Theory to Read and Write about Literature. Ed. Lois Tyson. New York, NY: Routledge, 2001. 274-81. Print.
Alice Walker’s Description of the Idea of the Household as Illustrated in Her Book, Everyday Use
The Heritage of the House
In “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, Dee’s negative attitude towards the Johnson’s household reflects her ashamed views of her family and their interpretation of heritage.
The descriptions of the house portrayed by Mama, Maggie, and Dee distinguish how different their lifestyles are, and how they affect Dee’s perception of her family. Initially, the yard of the house is described as “more comfortable than most people know…like an extended living room” by Mama, the narrator (1226). Its homeliness is brought upon by the extensive care of the yard taken by Maggie and Mama, who had “made [it] so clean and wavy” (1226). They look at the yard as a place of solace and protection from the outside world. However, the narrator comes to the sudden realization, before Dee’s arrival, that, “No doubt when Dee sees it she will want to tear it down. She wrote me once that no matter where we “choose” to live, she will manage to come see us. But she will never bring her friends” (1228). The distinction between the narrator’s care for the home and Dee’s disdain reveal Dee’s feelings of shame and disappointment. Whereas Maggie and Mama take great pride in keeping the house clean, Dee looks down upon the house’s condition, just as she does the family, when she says, “It’s really a new day for us. But from the way you and Mama live, you’d never know it” (1232). The contrast between Dee’s modern thinking, with her polaroid and new name, and Maggie and Mama’s traditional views make it harder for Dee to accept the household she has grown up in, and causes further distance within the family.
Set after the Black Power movement in the 1970s, “Everyday Use” captures the misguided value of heritage Dee places on the house. For instance, when she first arrives at the house and starts taking picture with her Polaroid, Dee “never takes a shot without making sure the house is included” (1229). From the beginning, Walker makes it clear that this home is a very essential part of Dee’s memories of her family, despite her embarrassment of their living conditions. However, Dee’s interest in the house’s history and antiquity turns solely materialistic, when she exclaims, “I can use the churn top as a centerpiece for the alcove table” and, in reference to her Grandma’s quilts, says she will “Hang them…As if that was the only thing you could do with quilts” (1231, 1232). The house is used as a device to fulfill Dee’s false sense of heritage, where she feels the need to connect with her roots as a black woman. Again, Dee’s modern Black Power views clash with her mother’s traditional views, when Mama refuses to give Dee the quilts and she declares, “Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts!…She’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use” (1231). The conflict furthers between the family when Mama asks, “‘What don’t I understand?’ I wanted to know. ‘Your heritage.’ [Dee] said” (1232). Dee’s misinterpretation of culture represents the time period the Johnsons live in, where black people would take pride in their ancestors and their inheritance.
The Johnson’s household is a device used by Walker to explain the obvious difference between Dee and the rest of her family. Their different perceptions of the house make Dee’s role in the family clear and explain why she is so distant. Dee tries to maintain her culture through various means, such as changing her name or using family heirlooms to re-establish her connection with the black culture, however Maggie and Mama do not feel inclined to re-evaluate what it means to be a black individual. The distinction between their values illustrate the different values experienced by the generation gap in the confusing time after the Civil Rights movement.
Alice Walker – “Everyday Use”
Everyday Use is told in mama point of view. The author starts of by describing the her as “a large, big-boned woman with rough, man working hands.” Mama has two daughters, the younger daughter is named Maggie. she is described as a shy, quiet, and sensitive girl, and out of the two daughters, Maggie is the more traditional girl who plans to get married soon. Dee is the oldest daughter who is described as having a lot of confidence, she is intelligent and very well driven. The story begins as Mama and Maggie wait for Dee to return, Dee had left mama to get an education and make a name for herself. As both Mama and Maggie wait for Dee, the author give us more details about Mama’s life and her relationship with Dee. We see that Dee has always wanted more than her family history or her mom could provide for her. Everything she was able to acquire with all her accomplishments came at the expense of her mother and little sister.
When Dee shows up, she is wearing African clothing and is accompanied by a young man named, Hakim-a-barber, who is her boyfriend. Mama is disappointed by the man refers to him as “Asalamalakim,” she is also disappointed in Dee’s appearance. They say their greeting and all that, that’s when Dee says she rather be called her new name, Wanhero (an African name), to protest those who have oppressed her. Their presence there was not intended on connecting with Mama or Maggie, Dee and her boyfriend where here to search through