Everyday Use Short Story by Alice Walker



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  • Introducing the Short Story
  • with
  • Literary Analysis: Conflict and
    • Character
  • Reading Skill: Make
  • Vocabulary in Context
  • VIDEO TRAILER
  • What makes something VALUABLE?
  • The word value means different things to different people.
  • For example, an old vase might have high monetary value or high sentimental value.
  • INTRODUCING THE SHORT STORY
  • What makes something VALUABLE?
  • To some, it might have great historical, cultural, or artistic value.
  • But others might think it’s a useless piece of junk.
  • Often people disagree over the value they assign to an object. Or they may agree that it is valuable, but not for the same reason.
  • INTRODUCING THE SHORT STORY
  • QUICKWRITE
  • Write a short paragraph identifying the item and telling why it is valuable to you.
  • What makes something VALUABLE?
  • Click on the title to play the trailer.
  • Everyday Use
  • Conflict and Character
  • Conflict and Character
  • In “Everyday Use,” the main conflict centers around two sisters, Dee and Maggie, and their mother, who narrates the story.
  • Although the main conflict between these characters is worked out in the resolution of the story, some other conflicts linger unresolved.
  • As you read, pay attention to the conflicts and whether they are resolved.
  • Also think about the differences in the characters’ values and priorities.
  • Conflict and Character
  • Make Inferences
  • For example, the narrator makes a comment about her yard being like “an extended living room.” From this comment, you might infer that she enjoys being outdoors.
  • Because writers don’t always tell you everything you need to know about a character, you must make inferences, or logical guesses, based on story details and your own experiences.
  • As you read, notice what the characters’ words and actions tell you about their personalities and attitudes. Take notes on a chart like the one shown.
  • Make Inferences
  • Inferences
  • Story Details
  • thinks orchids are tacky
  • flowers
  • Dee
  • Mama
  • Maggie
  • Figure out the meaning of each boldfaced vocabulary word from the context. Sample answers appear in brackets. In your Reader/Writer Notebook, write a sentence that shows your understanding of each word.
  • doctrine
  • furtive
  • heritage
  • recompose
  • 1. sneaky, furtive behavior
  • [secretive]
  • [become calm again]
  • 3. accept the club’s doctrine
  • [set of rules]
  • [family traditions]
  • doctrine n. a set of rules, beliefs, or values held by a group
  • heritage v. something passed down through generations, such as traditions, values, property
  • recompose v. to restore to calm, to settle again


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