Tillie Olsen and Alice Walker seem to touch on the same subjects as authors. Their short stories, "I Stand Here Ironing" and "Everyday Use" are told from the perspective of a mother relaying their relationship with their daughters. The mothers in these stories remain nameless, yet they are infused with a sense of importance. The mothers in these short stories act as first person narrators, explaining their thoughts and feelings to the reader.
Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" is a poignant story of a mother's relationship with her two daughters. The mother narrates that she has two girls, Maggie and Dee. Maggie is a simple girl with no major aspirations and no real physical beauty. Maggie and her mother have a wonderful relationship because they have much in common. Mother teachers Maggie how to sow and they both enjoy snuff. They lead a simple home life and are content.
The narrators' relationship with Dee is much different. The mother wishes that Dee would embrace her and tell her she cares about her like "those TV shows where the child who has "made it" is confronted, as a surprise, by her own mother and father." The narrator feels that Dee does not respect her. In fact, before moving away for college Dee complains about everything including the house they live in. There is a subtle suggestion that Dee burned their previous house down and almost killed Maggie in the process.
Dee comes back home from college after immersing herself in the black pride movement. She has changed her name to Wangero to reflect her newfound faith in Islam. Her mother accepts her decision but does not understand what she hates about her past and who she is. Dee asks for a blanket, a family heirloom, as a keepsake from her mother. Mother refuses and gives the blanket to Maggie because Maggie never receives anything and Mother knows that Maggie will appreciate it.
The narrator is Tillie Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironin