The 1944 short story "Everyday Use"
The 1944 short story "Everyday Use" unfolds by showing the neatly made yard that Maggie and her mother have to do. The garden was made for Dee, who is Maggie's niece, for a special visit. Although Maggie is anxious about the visit of a long-gone sibling, it is clear that she has a sense of self-pity.
Maggie's mother defines her personality as being more like a man than a woman. The story goes on to describe the burned house problem and how Maggie's sister, Dee, led to another house being constructed. As the story unfolds we also see Dee visit and the way Dee seems to have changed and appears to be different from her sister. The story later shows the issue of inheritance through the grandmother's Quilts.
The Roles of Maggie's Mother
At first, it's clear that Maggie's mother, who is the narrator, seems to take on the responsibility of a mother and a father. Since she is a woman, she has taken the roles of a father (Ciabattari 34-60) and most of her actions are man-like. She says she is a big boned woman with rough man-working hands (Walker 315). The responsibility of being a single mother makes her resume some manly chores so that she can take over the fatherhood role. She is also surprised in television how a mother and father would come together and embrace each other, and the child would say that the child could not have made it without the parent's help (Walker 315). As a parent, she is surprised if Maggie would have to appreciate her in anything. Maggie's mother is sure that she has done what is required as a single parent and especially since a woman to raise her children.
The self-pity that Maggie has is due to her burns, which at one point make her see herself as a person of no worth. The narrator says Maggie has been chin on chest, eyes on the ground, and feet on shuffle ever since the fire burned the other house (Walker 316). This evident of the part of self-pity when one loses the old thing that she thought was good to her. Self-pity in women due to memories is also evident in today's life. Most women go under such emotional disturbance, which actually affects their lives (Reddy and Linda 667-693). Women are likely to get overstressed in doing the work that they are required to do. In today's life, we see such emotional disturbances in the society where cases of suicide have been reported.
Parenting and Its Impact
It is evident to see how parenting has been done in the whole context as it is today. What actually happens in the short story has been depicted in today's life. The work of a single mother is seen to have an effect on a child's development at large (McLeod et al. 562). The society should be much concerned with a child's development and the fact that even adolescents may undergo due to single parenting.
The Issue of Mother's Responsibility and Women Empowerment
The issue of mother's responsibility in parenting and the power of society to hold up the heritage of women empowerment is a matter of great concern in the present life. The issue of parenting has become one more challenging thing for single mothers. The changes in family structures have currently brought up problems with the emotional health of children (Ronald angle 38). The children raised by single mothers have been discovered to experience emotional stress and lack some vital fatherhood parenting roles. This is also a big bow to today's generation. The issue of children's emotional health is no different from what is shown in the short story "Everyday Use," where we see that Maggie is emotionally ill. This is quite similar to what is happening in the present time. There is no doubt that much of what is happening in the short story is evident.
Burden, Dianne S. "Single parents and the work setting: The impact of multiple jobs and home life responsibilities." Family Relations (1986): 37-43.
Ciabattari, Teresa. "Single mothers, social capital, and work–family conflict." Journal of Family Issues 28.1 (2007): 34-60.
McLeod, V.C., Jayaratne, T.E., Ceballo, R., and Borquez, J., 1994. Unemployment and work interruption among African American single mothers: Effects on parenting and adolescent socioemotional functioning. Child development, 65(2), pp.562-589.
Reddy, Linda A. "Serious emotional disturbance in children and adolescents: Current status and future directions." Behavior Therapy 32.4 (2001): 667-691.
Walker, Alice. Everyday use. Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, 2004.