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Life of African Americans in Literature - Book Report/Review Example

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Life of African Americans in Literature

Misunderstandings become intense when Troy goes into an affair with another woman eventually bearing him a child.
Everyday Use on the other hand, revolves around Mrs. Johnson or Mama and her daughters Dee and Maggie, on who among the two deserves to have the quilts, which serve as a heritage piece. The quilts are that significant as Mrs.Johnson narrates, "In both of them were scraps of dresses Grandma Dee had won fifty and more years ago. Bits and pieces of Grandpa Jattel's Paisely shirts. And one teeny faded blue piece, about the size of a penny matchbox, that was from the Great Grandpa Ezra's uniform that he wore in the Civil War" (Walker).
The main characters of the stories Troy and Mama, are similar and different in many ways. Both have their own frustrations in life, starting from their poor status in life, to not getting a full education and to having problems with their children possibly brought about by generation gap.
became desperate in joining the major leagues because blacks were not allowed to. He became even more desperate because by the time the major leagues started to accept black men, he was already old to play. Another of his many frustrations is the fight for equality among black and white men which is hard to achieve. He had been wanting to drive the garbage truck but could not do so because of the unfair treatment imposed on people with different skin color. Aside from this, there are problems he encounters with his children Lyons who comes home only to ask for money, and the disobedient Cory. Cory badly wanted to avail of the football scholarship but was allowed by his father on condition that he keeps up with his work at a store. But Troy exposes Cory's neglect of his duty and so is not able to play anymore.
Later on, Troy's life becomes a mess that he fathers a child from another woman Alberta who dies after giving birth. Troy's wife Rose takes care of the new baby for the sake of the child though it did not mean she is in good terms with Troy. This explains the "womanless man" as described by Rose, which Troy has become. Troy dies in the end disappointed in his dreams which was the same thing that happened to his son Cory. But even so, Troy was able to succeed by being the first black man in Pittsburg to drive a garbage car which he had contested for so long.
Mrs. Johnson in Everyday Use on one hand is disappointed with her daughter Dee who after getting a college education (She is the only one in the family with a full education) has changed. Although she joined a member of the Black movement which is against racism, deeply, she did not know what heritage meant. As critic Susan Farrel puts it, the older sister Dee is more sophisticated, "shallow," "condescending," and "manipulative," and concerned with fashion, and physical beauty, without having a "true" understanding of her tradition.
As to their dreams for their children, Troy is seen here as selfish that just because he was
Farrell, Susan. "Fight vs. Flight: A Re-Evaluation of Dee in Alice Walker's 'Everyday Use. "Studies in Short Fiction 35, no. 2 (spring 1998): 79- 86. Source Database: Literature Resource Center

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Summary

August Wilson's Fences and Alice Walker's Everyday Use are two literary pieces that talk about the lives of African Americans at the time racism existed. It centers on the lead characters Troy Maxson and Mrs. Johnson and their struggle to raise their family while finding their true identities amidst the presence of racism.
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