alice walker’s “everyday use”

I’ve lived in this home a while, and I still can do my God-given task pretty well. The Mama here doesn’t make as much butter as they used to over at Big Dee and Stash’s house, where the tree I’m made of grew in the back yard.  I’m proud I help folks to make a central part of their meal — rich yellow butter, the same color as the wood that I’m made of. You can tell how folks have worked hard over the years by the way my wood sinks down in places.

But I’m pretty scared about what’s happening now. I’m having a hard time saying anything because this young woman Dee has me all wrapped up in cloth just waiting to take me to some noisy city place, most likely. She had to wipe off the clabbered milk hanging to me. Now how is the Mama supposed to finish making her butter? Doesn’t that young woman understand that I’m made to dash milk, push it and churn it till it turns into that creamy yellow butter, so sweet. What am I supposed to do hanging  on a wall or sitting  in a corner? That girl is so scared to put anything to everyday use, she can only think of displaying her family’s stuff. No more sense than a stuffed raggedy ann doll. And why does the Mama just stand there and let her daughter grab me, wrap me up, and throw me in the car? Doesn’t she have anything to say about the pieces of art she uses every day? Because I am a piece of artwork. All you have to do is look at the way Henry whittled me. Stash surely knew how to make a piece of wood sing. I’m smooth like a well-tanned goat-skin glove and the color of my wood shows up bright and patterned.

Only thing I know, I’m a lot more beatiful when I hang out with the rest of the butter churn doing my job. I sure wish Maggie could speak up and save me from this boring future that’s staring me in the face.


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