"I am playing with myself,
I am playing with the world's soul,
I am the dialogue between myself and el espiritu del mundo.
I change myself, I change the world."

Gloria AnzaldĂșa

14 November, 2007

Everyday Use

I am sitting here while my Composition I students struggle over an in class essay on the wonderful "Everyday Use," by the glorious Alice Walker.



They are having such a hard time. I know they will do their best. I know they will come to an understanding of the different values of the sisters. I know they will love Maggie and her mother.

I have yet to have a student really identify with Dee. This surprises me, because I did. I don't mean that I totally disrespected my mother and my sister(s), although the sisters might tell a different tale, but there were times when we spoke a different language.

There were also times when I was so full of myself and my grand ideas--so full of my feminist struggle--that I did not give credit to the woman who raised three girls by herself--to the women my sisters had become. I certainly gave them lip service, just as Dee has appreciation for the "folk art" her grandmother had quilted. But I neglected to accept what they were--to be proud of what they were. Warts (lack of "higher" education) and all. I wonder if that is just part of the undergraduate experience--that strange and heady hubris.

On a lighter note, one of my perfect, precious puppies is what is called a Walker Fox Hound. So her name is
Alice Walker Hound.

I somehow think Alice would appreciate the gesture.


3 comments:

Mrs. G. said...

I love Alice, yes I do. My daughter is working her way through some of her books and it is such a pleasure to watch a new generation get fired up and be moved by her prose. My favorite of her books is Sula.

Jozet at Halushki said...

"I wonder if that is just part of the undergraduate experience--that strange and heady hubris."

Absolutely.

There is a lot of creation and destruction of self going on at the same time in the effort to finally define oneself.

A lot of black and white thinking in the effort to be certain about many things, most of all certain about who they are becoming.

There isn't that gray thinking that allows for a wart on a goddess, both literally and figuratively. There is too much uncertainty there.

Mary Alice said...

I loved Everyday Use. I can understand Dee.Someday the whole picture will come together for Dee - and someday Dee will look back and admire her mother for being able to call her Wangero.