Early Years of Alice Walker Born February 9, 1944 Birthplace: Eatonton, GA Her parents: Willie Lee Walker Minnie Lou Tallulah Grant Walker She is the youngest of 8 siblings Accident left her blind in 1 eye Got shot in the eye with a BB when playing Cowboys and Indians with her siblings. Alice’s Parents
Vegetarian Remains very active in feminist/woman’s causes, economic justice, and environmental issues Several YouTube videos show Alice Walker supporting Obama Open-mindedness He is real Compassionate Hard worker She has won numerous awards for her literature
Education Alice Walker attended Spelman College during the early 1960’s with a full scholarship In Atlanta, GA She received 3 gifts from her mother Typewriter Sewing Machine Suitcase Later transferred to Sarah Lawrence College Throughout college she was very active in civil rights movements Located outside of NYC
Career Upon graduating Alice Walker accepted a position with the NYC department of Welfare A year later she moved to MS and worked for the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP Alice Walker also taught at Jackson State College in Mississippi
Personal Life Prior to moving to Mississippi; Alice Walker married Mel Leventhal (a Jewish civil rights attorney) When they moved to Mississippi they became “the first legally inter-racial couple in Mississippi.” This brought on a lot of harassment and threats of murder by the KKK They had 1 daughter together Rebecca in 1969 Mel and Alice divorced in 1976 Had a romantic relationship with Tracy Chapman during the 90’s
Alice, Rebecca, and Mel Levanthal Rebecca Grant (Walker)
Writing Style Most of her works are known for her portrayal of the African American woman’s life Depicts: Sexism Poverty Racism But also doesn’t leave out strengths such as: Self-worth Spirituality Family Community
Her Writings Wrote several novels The Color Purple Meridian The Third Life of Grange Copeland Published numerous volumes of poetry Once Revolutionary Petunias and other Poems Collected Poems Wrote short stories In Love and Trouble You Can’t Keep a Good Women Down
Quotes Quotes “I try to teach my heart not to want things it can't have” “Don't wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you've got to make yourself.” “No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.” “I have learned not to worry about love; but to honor its coming with all my heart.” “Nobody is as powerful as we make them out to be.”
Awards/Accomplishments Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for The Color Purple O Henry Award for “Kindred Spirits” Lillian Smith Award from the National Endowment for the Arts National Book Award (first black woman) Rosenthal Award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters Nomination for the national book award Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, Merrill Fellowship, & Guggenheim Fellowship
Everyday Use Mama has two daughters, Maggie and Dee. Mama and Maggie are waiting for Dee’s arrival. Maggie is very self-conscious and nervous because Dee is the “normal” daughter. Dee was sent away to school and received and education, and Maggie can barely read. Maggie has severe scars on her body from being burned in a fire when she was a young child. She is jealous of Dee because she has an easier life than she does. Mama looks forward to Maggie’s marriage to John Thomas because she will not have to take care of Maggie anymore and will be able to have a relaxing life. Dee arrives at the house with her boyfriend Hakim-a-barber. Mama does not approve the way Dee is dressed, as well as the strange man she has brought with her. Dee tells her mother that she has changed her name to WangeroLeewanikaKemanjo, an African name. Dee says she doesn’t want to be named after the people that oppressed her, but her mom tells her she was named after her grandmother. Dee begins to gather items from the house that are important to her. She first gathers the parts of the butter churn and wraps them up. Maggie tells them that it was their Aunt’s first husband that made the butter churn. Then, Dee goes into the bedroom and gathers two quilts from the trunk. Maggie gets upset that Dee wants those quilts, and her mother tells Dee to take different quilts with her instead. Dee wants these two particular quilts because they were handstiched by her grandmother and contain pieces of garments her family mambers had worn. Dee and Maggie argue about the quilts. Maggie gives in and hands Dee the quilts, however Mama takes them away from Dee and places them on Maggies lap. She tells Dee to grab two different quilts. Dee and her boyfriend leave. She tells Mama that Mama doesn’t understand her heritage at all. They drive away.
Debate Dee and Maggie get into an argument about two quilts that their grandmother made from clothing that she wore. Maggie wants to keep the quilts so they can be used everyday, and Dee wants to pack the quilts away and preserve them. Dee (Debrah) I want to preserve these quilts 4. This quilt has meaning behind it and it will be ruined if you use it everyday. Our grandmother made these quilts 5. The meaning of the past will be taken away once the quilt is thrown away when it wears. Maggie (Erin) 2. I will use them for everyday use 3. I can make another quilt when it is worn out.