"Really Crime Doesn't Pay” and “Everyday Use" by Alice Walker essay sample

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"Really Crime Doesn't Pay” and “Everyday Use" by Alice Walker


Alice Walker is an African-American novelist who highlights black women’s problems in the American society (Bio, 2015). She attempts to overcome the stereotypes about the black women and help readers discover their inner world by taking different examples from the real life. "Really Crime Doesn't Pay” and “Everyday Use" are two of thirteen short stories which were included in the book “In Love and Trouble” by Alice Walker in 1973 (Bio, 2015). In spite of the fact of the difference in themes covered in the stories, they have many similarities.


While "Really Crime Doesn't Pay” is focused on the black women’s oppression by black men, the story “Everyday Use" highlights a great number of themes. Both stories are written from the first person that creates intimate connection between a reader and narrator. The stories are depicted in rural setting where past, future and present are mixed. Difference and similarity of the stories in themes, style, and setting

First of all, both stories disclose difficulties which black women face because of racism and sexism. However, the spheres which affect racism and sexism are different. Thus, in the story "Really Crime Doesn't Pay” the theme of oppression of black women by black men is discovered. It allows the author to highlight black women’s insecurity at home and in the society. The main character, Myrna, was a talented writer who gave up written because her husband was against it. Her husband Ruel considered that his wife should only shop, care about herself, and have babies.

The conflict between couple leads to the situation when Myrna betrayed her husband with Mordecai Rich, a young writer who was impressed with her style of writing. However, he also oppressed Myrna by publishing Myrna’s story under his own name. In contrast, in the story “Everyday Life” Alice Walker presents a great variety of themes: poorness of black people’s living conditions, a mother’s worries about her daughters’ life, the attempts of the mother to overcome inequity and racism by giving the last for providing a child with education, different attitude to heritage, the gap between educative and non-educative children, and parents’ neglecting by educative children.

Alice Walker shows how difficult it was for poor black families to provide the education to the children. Thus, the mother in the story “Everyday Use" worked hard and neglected her own life in order to pay for her elder daughter Dee for education and for being well-dressed. Unfortunately, she did not manage to provide the same education to her younger daughter. However, the author considers that mother’s attempts did not worth the result, as Dee refused her roots, changed her name, and could not appreciate her mother’s sacrifice. Maggie who learnt the home traditions from her granny was a person who would safe heritage of their ancestors. Then, the stories are written from the first-person that allows achieving intimate connection between a reader and narrator and feeling …

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Tags: life, story, person, people, pay


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