The main character of the “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker is Mrs. Johnson or Mama. Whilst in “The Journey” by Catherine Lim, the main character is Richard. In both masterpieces, the writers have managed to blossom the superlative momentous of the genesis. The theme that is scarcely being urged among the wordsmith and writers nowadays. In the “Everyday Use”, the theme of the story that is being accentuated is the importance of heritage and in here, the quilt or the duvet represents the heritage or the root that is being brawled between Dee or Wangero and Maggie.
Although Maggie has jeopardised herself by compromising with her tyrant-liked sister, she secretly averse towards her forlorn sister’s act. Mama loves her daughters. From the story, we can distinctly see that Mama thinks sensibly when she is in dilemma. She decides that Maggie is the virtuous person to inherit the quilt. Through her astute and prudent thinking, she discerns that Maggie will use the quilt for her “everyday use” in contrast with Dee who will put the quilt for a display which will contradict the actual use of a quilt.
(I did something that I never done before: hugged Maggie to me, then dragged her into the room, snatched the quilts out of Miss Wangero’s hands and dumped them into Maggie’s lap. ) In Lim’s “The Journey”, she also registers the appreciation of the roots. Similarly to Mama, the main character Richard finally perceives the significant of his roots which are his village family, his mother, his aunt and his grandmother. Richard seems apathy in his life due to his desolate malady, his capitalistic wife and his yearned for family in the village.
Throughout the poignant story, Richard keeps recalling his past events with his roots. (Once-he must have been eight or nine at the time-he had fallen through the hole, and his mother had taken a long time to clean him up, drawing up one bucket of water after another from the well). By the end of the story, he has made a very staggering decision that resolves his problems when he decides to return to his roots instead of accepting his adamant wife’s idea who wants him to be treated in New York. The hurdles have turned Richard into a grown up man.
He finally can decide what is best for him and he stays firm on his decision to return to his roots, although he is aware with the consequences that might engage in his forsaken life. (But he said,” I’m making the journey. I’m going home”. ) In both of the intoxicating story, both of the main characters exhibit sarcasm towards the antagonist. Mama is mocking her modish daughter, Dee by refusing to address her as Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo or Wangero in short. She questions Dee’s instantaneous switch of her name.
(“What happened to ‘Dee’? ” I wanted to know”). She also struggles on vindicating the “Dee” name because the name is carried from her ancestors. At first, Mama willingly to comply with Dee’s new name but at the end, she shows sarcasm as she is feeling jaded over Dee’s exasperating attitude of requesting the paramount quilt and the butter churn that Dee herself does not know how to operate and make use of it. This is evidently shown when at first Mama addresses Dee as Wangero but towards the end, she addresses her as Dee again.
Richard on the other hand, shows sarcasm towards his wife, Mabel inaudibly because he still fond on his wife that somehow concerns over his health. It is likely to be an irony when he wishes to be with his roots for he believes that they can cure him although the verified fact is that only the modern technology might cure him from his malignant growth. Richard actually do not want to heal his ailment because he realises that he can no longer survive the disease as his doctor fails to make early detection of his terminal malady. (“I blame him,” said Mabel bitterly.
“You have been going to him regularly for the past four years, and how is it possible that he didn’t detect it earlier?… ). Richard finally resort that he should be more sensible by making a soul journey that likely to cure his remediable broken-hearted soul that is endeavouring his loneliness and longing for his roots and childhood. Although there are many similitude between the two characters, there are also disparities between the two prominent characters. This can be seen through the physical appearance of the main characters.
Mama in the “Everyday Use” lives an arduous life. Mama is portrayed as a big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands. She ends up with masculine physique since she has to carry out all the man’s vocations as she is a single mother. If that is not lament enough, the dissonance of her family creates a downcast condition for her. Maggie has acted like a lame animal since the fire had burned their house to the ground. Another bugbear is with Dee’s cruel intentions with her husband, Asalamalakim that somehow create inconvenience in her already troubled family.
Dee wants the quilt for her own greed not because of the reason is made in the first place. This is compared to Richard’s opulent, deluxe and sumptuous life. He has almost everything that a peasant man could have imagine from his “Arrow” shirt till the Pierre Cardin tie that Mabel has bought for him. His splendid life and appearance is pestered when he have a conflict within himself, the old Richard wants him to return and make a journey for his agitated soul. Another difficulty that he has to face is his balderdash wife who tends to grumble against his family members because they are being very superstitious.
If the condition is no more worse, he is also being thunder struck when he is informed to have a cancer. Ironically, money does not bring happiness but only a lofty, multitudinous of troubles. Such notion that should be reminded to the society who are full of greed. Through the conflicts that the main characters have faced, there are dissimilarities in certain part of the conflicts that they have faced. For instance, Mama does not have any conflicts involving her nuptial problems. She just has to waylay her heritage problem which is between her children.
The poor-stricken life has disorganised her family completely. Though this might affect her lifestyle, she never forgets her heritage. This is likely differing to Dee who is live a very sophisticated life and educated but she is lack of what Mama and Maggie know what the quilt significant to. In Richard, he has to face his conjugal problems, his health problems, his roots and himself. Compared to Mama, Richard does not have any problems between his beloved children. This is because his children are well-feed with silver spoon in their mouth. They can easily get what they want in a blink.
For example, Mark gets a go-kart and Annabelle gets a new piano by Mabel. In a conclusion, a story can never shines with lame protagonist and simple life. The kaleidoscopic lifestyles and characterisations given by the authors to the characters in their story have given a prodigious impact to the storylines and at the same time determine the reader’s reaction. Readers somehow do not share the same interest; therefore, a good writer should use this opportunity to widen their story field and somehow will produce the masterpiece that will captivate every reader’s interest.