Mrs. Johnson's Effect As

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate August 2001

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The narrator for "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, is Mrs. Johnson, a mother of two daughters, each with very different personalities and each craving different goals in life. Mrs. Johnson narrates the story to get a mother's perspective on the two daughters and because of the main conflict will eventually be between the eldest daughter, Dee, and the rest of the family. Dee is much more self assured and her younger sister, Maggie, tends to be more "homely" and "ashamed" of her appearance and never smiles. If anyone else told the story, the details and observations would be skewed in their favor. Mrs. Johnson supports the theme by introducing the life style, giving us insight to the setting and each character, her daughters' views of life, and her perceptions and reactions to Dee's appearance and conduct.

Mrs. Johnson grew up a black woman in the rural south and had settled into a life style that was demanded by the controlling majority of society.

In her early life in the "˜20s and "˜30s, black people were expected to maintain a profile placed on them by the white community. Due to her lack of an education and familiarity of living a poor life, Mrs. Johnson was the perfect narrator to control the theme of the story. She even admitted her inability to "look a strange white man in the eye" and was always ready to run away. This life style was common to the oppressed and uneducated of the era and it placed severe hardships and demands on her. After a lifetime with such a style, it was the only way she knew to live.

Mrs. Johnson supports the theme because she completely introduces the setting and gives us an unbiased understanding of the primary characters. She...