textual analysis of the short story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker

“In this four page essay you want analyze a literary text chosen from our course reading assignments and construct an argument about a specific aspect of text you will use specific textual analysis to support your claims”.
“ you only need to consult the primary text“

The final product will be a 4-page, thesis-driven analytic essay, in which you make an analytic central argument with clearly delineated supporting claims about the meaning, power, or structure of a literary text supported through the close analysis of textual evidence. Incorporation of textual evidence will be documented through MLA-style in-text citation.


1. Often in literature, the main character faces a conflict between his or her moral principles and society’s conventions (rule of conduct or behavior). The character must choose between doing what he or she thinks is right, or conforming to the demands of society. Select a character facing a conflict between personal morality and society’s conventions. Identify the character and, using specific references from the work, explain the nature of the character’s conflict, the struggle of this character to resolve this conflict, and the overall effect of this conflict within the greater scope of the short story.

2. Often in literary works, authors choose a physical object that takes on a special significance in the work and becomes a symbol of something beyond itself. Show how, in the work that you read, the author uses symbolism to convey meaning. In your essay, focus on the symbol and what it symbolizes. Be sure to discuss how the author uses it to convey a message to readers. You may choose three important symbols from the novel, or you may choose to elaborate on one symbol.

3. Examine the development of the theme of the story. What universal truth does the story express about human nature, experiences, problems, or relationships? How do various elements of the story—characters and their actions or words, events within the story, reoccurring images or clusters of images, point of view, etc.—help to develop the theme?

5. Without characters, there is no narrative. Discuss the roles of various characters with in a story, focusing on any of the following: static vs. dynamic characters, flat vs. round characters, characterization, how conventional or stereotyped characters function, symbolism of a character attributes, etc.

6. Many stories advocate changes in social or political attitudes or traditions. Analyze and discuss the techniques that the author uses to influence the reader’s views regarding change.

7. Some of the most significant events in a story are mental or psychological—awakenings, discoveries, changes of consciousness. Analyze how the author manages to give these internal events the sense of excitement, suspense, and climax usually associate with externa action.

8. What is the central conflict or problem of the story? How does the outcome of the conflict relate to the theme of the story? What literary devices does the author use to create an understanding of the conflict?

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