Selfish Change –
Selfish Change –
Selfish Change
For centuries advancements in society have inspired materialism. In the short story, “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, a scarred fire victim, Maggie, was treated poorly by her older sister, Dee, who tried to take family heirlooms while visiting. Dee had integrated into a society where blacks and whites were equal. Her mother, who had not fully adjusted to the change in civil rights, had grown up in an era of black repression. Dee’s materialism and selfishness interfered with her relationship with her mother and sister demonstrating how materialistic people often let their selfishness interfere with their family relationships.

The civil rights movement led to major changes for African Americans. For the first time blacks were integrated into a white society during the 1920s and the decades to follow (Whitley). In a relatively short period of time, blacks were given many new legal rights (Brunner). This quick change created a serious materialistic divide in black families. While the parents grew up in a world with very little, the children grew up with lots of opportunity (Civil Rights). This created an unnatural divide. The older members of black families weren’t accustomed to satisfying their own desires first. Black children growing up with more rights were able to act as selfish as white children without being scorned. The family divide created by the civil rights movement caused family members with different morals to clash as clearly shown in Walker’s story.

Dee’s arrival at her mother’s farm was an obvious demonstration of the conflict between the younger, more materialistic generation, and the older generation. Walker described Dee stepping out of the car as if she were a celebrity preparing to make a grand appearance (Walker 20). Dee was very materialistic and outgoing but her mother didn’t share the same values. Immediately after Dee arrived in her beautiful dress, she took pictures of Maggie, her mother, and the house with her Polaroid camera (Walker 24). This first interaction shows how materialistic Dee is. Instead of respecting her mother and sister whose body language made it obvious they weren’t prepared to be photographed, Dee snapped picture after picture of the two (Walker 24). Any unselfish person wouldn’t paparazzi their own family. She didn’t even realize she was putting them in an awkward situation because she was so focused on getting the pictures for herself. This greeting created immediate tension because Maggie and Dee’s mother were probably not used to casual photography.

Almost immediately after

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Civil Rights And Short Story. (April 15, 2021). Retrieved from