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An Analysis of Everyday Use for Your Grandmama from the Perspective of New Historicism

Author ShangGuanDaiQing
Tutor CaoYingZhe
School Northeast Forestry University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords New Historicism Civil Rights Movements Alice Walker Everyday Use forYour Grandmama
CLC I712.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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Alice Walker is regarded as an outstanding representative in Afro-Americans female literature. Her works, with extensive topics, substantial content and complex themes, express the hate and love of American Black women who are oppressed by the society and Black males, and pay a warm tribute to their strong vitality and efforts to seek individual emancipation and integrity. Everyday Use for Your Grandmama describes that Dee goes back home and has a conflict with her mother and sister. The conflict grows out of the "everyday use". Superficially, the conflict is between Black women in their families. Actually, it fully reflects the conflicts and tension between Whites and Blacks.The unique perspectives of New Historicism are applied for discussing the history context. The previous two chapters introduce the writers and her works, the national and international research and the theory framework. The third chapter focuses on culture identities of three main characteristics of Everyday Use for Your Grandmama. Chapter three reveals the historical context through analyzing the three female characters in the short story. The mother is a catcher in traditional culture of Blacks as well as a representative of independent Black women. Dee is the seeker of national cultures and the representative of national struggle. Maggie is the heir to historical family heritage and a representative of painful History and Culture. African Historical culture is analyzed in Chapter four through Dee’s changing of name, the use of African language, traditional food and heritage of everyday use. By rewriting the long-forgottened African culture, the author expresses the oppression of the African people when their culture is ignored by the mainstream culture. Chapter five analyzes the conflicts of the perspectives of historical culture in the story, which can be seen as means of construction in history which include the conflicts between traditional life of the mother and the new ideas brought by activist Dee in civil rights movement, the appreciation of the beauty on Blacks and the appreciation of the beauty on Whites, and the conflict between Separatism and Nonviolence is also involved. Chapter six is the conclusion.By analyzing Everyday Use for Your Grandmama from perspective of New Historicism, this thesis demonstrates the living state and spirit world of the Blacks, reveals the huge impact of American society dominated by White people on the traditional life of Blacks, and shows bitter sufferings and oppression of Black women, their fighting and struggling in civil rights movement and feminist movement. It also embodies the speculating of Alice Walker on how to protect African culture, advocate the civil rights movement, and seek for the unity of Fractions in Movements. Besides, it discusses how Black women, even the black community should seek for survival and development in American society. The analysis on the thesis helps to have a further understanding of traditional African culture and Black writers as well.

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