A Grown Child Is A Dangerous Thing

“a dangerous thing”

“A grown child is a dangerous thing.”
(The Color Purple, Alice Walker)

We think of a child like “a dangerous thing” when he or she makes us hurtful because of being immature. In “Everyday Use”, Alice Walker also describe a rural black woman would be hurtful with her grown child. Thus, she tried to become an understanding mother who can judge both of daughters Dee and Maggie by their personalities as well as behaviors.

A selfish child

A selfish child

Dee was judged on her selfish personalities and inappropriate behaviors at home. She has come back from the college to visit mother and younger sister Maggie. However, she did not care of Maggie or even her mother. She just cared of herself and whatever could make her more valuable in the modern society.

That was the reason why she dressed fashionably and showed off her boy friend that might have been rich enough to own a car. Those things would be totally inappropriate to her rural mother and sister. She couldn’t hide her eagerness to have the quilts just because “they’re priceless”. Actually, she did not know the true value of these old things.

The mother knew that. In spite of being hurtful because of her dearest daughter, she still listened to Dee and tried to explain the value of the quilts in family. Then, she failed in her efforts to pull Dee closer to the family but she had made a right choice at the end. Indeed, she decided to give the quilts for Maggie instead of Dee.

A child was very shy but…

A child was very shy…

Different from Dee, Maggie was judged on her nice personalities and good behaviors in comparison with her elder sister. She was a shy girl who never left her home. She was not attractive or intelligent. Nevertheless, she looked like her mother who really appreciated the family value of the quilts.

Maggie knew how to quilt. That would be a very important point to prove that she truly loved the quilts as a symbol of family tradition. So she didn’t need to win the quilts since she can remember Grandma Dee without the quilts. Amazingly, the image of grandma was always in her heart.

The mother must have been so emotional from what Maggie said about the quilts. She did something she had never done before: hugged Maggie. That would be a scene on TV which she wished to be with Dee but Maggie now. As the result, Maggie won the quilts as she was to be deserved from her understanding mother.

We are “dangerous things”

“dangerous things”

We sometimes make someone hurtful although we don’t really want to…The short story of Alice Walker has told us about the changes of grown children that we have been experienced until now.

How can we change ?

After reading “Everyday Use”, I look at myself in the mirror as a young lady being similar to Dee and Maggie. I wonder alone: How can we change but don’t hurt our dear family that has been very meaningful in our life?

Think about this every day.

Thao Vien


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