Thesis Statement On Alice Walker

I like pohnpei397's reply. The daughter who returns home in Alice Walker's short story "Everyday Use," and the man she brings with her, indeed respresent a newly forged cultural identity for African Americans that is very much at odd with the conventional identities, as reflected in both the mother and the stay-at-home daughter.

A second (and related) possible thesis for this story focuses on the idea of "reader response": every reader will read the story...

I like pohnpei397's reply. The daughter who returns home in Alice Walker's short story "Everyday Use," and the man she brings with her, indeed respresent a newly forged cultural identity for African Americans that is very much at odd with the conventional identities, as reflected in both the mother and the stay-at-home daughter.

A second (and related) possible thesis for this story focuses on the idea of "reader response": every reader will read the story in a slightly different way because of that reader's individual background, values, political commitments, and so on. The story does prompt us, of course, to identify more closely with some of the characters than with the others; for example, the mother is the narrator in the story, which makes most readers initially identify more closely with her than with any of the other characters. Some readers will follow these prompts while other readers -- who are sometimes called "resistant readers" -- will not.

"Everyday Use," then, can be seen as a story that will probably be read very differently by different readers. While I teach in Mississippi, for example, I am not from that state, and I have great respect for the artists and thinkers of the Black Arts Era, including Alice Walker, who sought to make breaks with the past and to challenge, among other things, white standards of beauty and ideas of history. I also believe in the value of leaving home for extended periods, growing to be a highly independent person, and returning home a changed person who is then able to sift through the past and choose what to keep and what not to keep. Thus, while my Southern, very family-centered, and very place-bound students almost invariably identify with the position of Maggie and her mother (and often share, for example, in the mother's mockery of the Africa- and Islam-inspired names that the two visitors have adopted), I find the two visitors much more interesting and inspiring. I would even go so far as to say that the author Alice Walker is much more like Dee than she is like Maggie.

In the end, for me, the point is not that one reader is right and the other is wrong. Rather, the point is that we, as different readers, can react differently to the same prompts in the story and end up with very different readings of the same text. The particular readings that we end up with, in fact, often say as much about who we are as readers as they say about the text that we have been reading.

Topic Outline Thesis Statement: In The Color Purple, Celie being a young African-American woman never is able to have the proper education or treatment she desires for a majority of her life. I. By illustrating the struggles of a young African American woman in 1900’s, Walker portrays the racism that many African Americans face. A. Bloom- “In The Color Purple the burden of operating within a racial social context, which includes working through the oppressive collaboration of racism and sexism, is generally deflected from Celie's tale onto events in the economic and cultural marketplace.” (12) B. Bloom- “Sofia claims her right to speech as she defends her humanity against a remark from the mayor's wife and her body from assault by the mayor.” (134) C. Bloom- “Neither woman has ever lived outside of the family in the public sphere of American racism.” (12) D. Bloom- “Still, reflected in the realm of social theatrics that includes but is not contained within the family scene, sexism and racism provide privatizing images for class struggle, making the lynching appear to Celie a personal and "natural"—but not political —event that takes place on "the father's" so ‐ called private body.” (12) E. Evans- “Nettie's descriptions of the experiences of African women argue that Black women's oppression is transcultural. Celie's situation is then placed within a larger framework, linking her Black American experiences with those of Black women in Africa.” (170)

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