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Essay on Appearance vs Reality in Everyday Use and The Gilded Six-Bits

Appearance versus Reality in Alice Walker’s and Zora Neale Hurston’s Everyday Use and The Gilded Six-Bits

In “The Gilded Six-Bits” it appears that Otis D. Slemmons, the towns newest arrival, is rich, but by closer inspection by Joe Banks and Missie May, is found to be poor. In “Everyday Use,” Maggie doesn’t appear to be smart enough to honor and appreciate her heritage, but she and not Dee/Wangero is really preserving the family traditions as well as heritage. Both “The Gilded Six-Bits” by Zora Neale Hurston and “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker have the theme of appearance and reality. Hurston and Walker use the theme of appearance versus reality to convey the message that things aren’t always as simple as the outward appearances suggest.

The theme of appearance and reality is seen in “The Gilded Six-Bits” upon our first meeting Joe Banks and Missie May. Even out first glimpse into their lives, we don’t know they are married. It seems they are only dating. Lillie P. Howard, author of the book Zora Neale Hurston, states, “The Gilded Six-Bits is the story of a beautiful marriage beset by difficulties, of trials and successes, of appearances and reality” (151). Joe admired Slemmons. He says, “Yeah, he’s up to date. He got de finest clothes Ah ever seen on a colored man’s back” (2089). Joe also admired Slemmons coins “He’s got a five-dollar gold piece for a stick pin and he got a ten-dollar gold piece on his watch chain and his mouf is jes’ crammed full of gold teethes. Sho wisht it wuz mine” (2089-90). Slemmons gave the impression to Joe and the rest of the town that he had lots of money and expensive jewelry. Joe wants the possessions that Slemmons has, and Missie wants him to have them too.

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…ity, v. XXI, no. 3, Summer, 1985. Short Story Criticism. Ed. Thomas Votteler, v. 5. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Co., 1990.

Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Shorter fifth edition. New York: Norton, 1999.

Hurston, Zora Neale. “The Gilded Six-Bits” Baym 2087-2095.

Walker, Alice. “Everyday Use” Baym 2522-2528.

Bone, Robert. “Three Versions of Pastoral” in his Down House: Origins of the Afro-American Short Story, Columbia University Press, 1988. Short Story Criticism.

Fowler, Carolyn. “Solid at the Core,” in Freedom Ways, v 14, no. 1, first quarter, 1974. Short Story Criticism. Ed. Thomas Votteler, v. 5. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Co., 1990.

Howard, Lillie P. Zora Neale Hurston. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1980.

Winchell, Donna Haisty. Alice Walker. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1992.

A Clockwork Orange Essay: New Testament for American Youth?

A Clockwork Orange – New Testament for American Youth?

In Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, he observes a characteristic of youth that has been documented from the story of Icaris to the movie Rebel without a Cause. Through his ingenious method of examination of this characteristic, the sci-fi novel, he has created an aspect of what he chose to observe: Rebellion.

Our hero, Alex, begins the novel by explaining his mischeviouse exploits in a manner not far from nostalgia, that is tainted with a bit of sarcasm for any bleeding-heart pity one might feel for his victims, as when he recalls his own realization of the importance of the term, “A Clockwork Orange.” Alex says of the author and his wife that he “would like to have tolchocked them harder and ripped them to ribbons on their own floor. (CO 38)” By the juxtaposition of the intelligent rational used in the contemplation of this concept with the complete lack of respect for it, Burgess shows Alex’s attitude as one of childish ignorance coupled with testosterone induced negative energy. An attitude not absent from any boys upbringing. As Alex is growing through that difficult age known as adolescence, he is taking part in what we have called depaternalisation, throwing off the constraints of the previous generation. This is accomplished through random acts of violence, of course, but also through Alex’s existence within a subculture, which by definition is separate from and therefor contrasts with the mainstream culture.

Alex’s subculture is one of youth, and it is defined by its style of dress and its slang. Alex’s style of dress, described twice to us, once with his first gang and once with his second, is intentionally outrageous by our standards, with “a pair of blac…

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…t need to become good to maintain the theme of free will, although it must be much more reassuring to any of the elderly who read the book. My argument is that the book is suppose to be in opposition to the elderly, just like Alex is, and just like the audience is (i.e. American Youth). Through its rebelliousness achieved by the omission of the last chapter, A Clockwork Orange has become a manifesto for rebellion, an aspect of the culture it was written to observe.

Today, Madonna dresses as Alex did in Kubrick’s film, choreographing dance routines that look like scenes of rape and ultra-violence from the movie. When walking down the streets of campus, where bohemian lifestyles are embraced, the words “in-out, in-out” and “ultra-violence” are met with cheers of recognition and admiration. Has A Clockwork Orange become the “New Testament” for American youth?

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