Everyday Use by Alice Walker Author Institution Number/Name Everyday Use by Alice Walker depicts a story of the conflicting ideas between a mother and her two daughters, Dee and Maggie, on their heritage, ancestry and identities…
Download file to see previous pages...
However, her hopes are dashed when Dee returns with different world views and opinions about her heritage. Walker develops the theme of the meaning of heritage through the plot when Dee constructs a new heritage for herself after being angered by the oppression she feels exists in her family. Dee’s character is seen to have rejected her family legacy by giving herself a new name which she believes truthfully represents her African heritage. Dee’s renaming is the author’s way of trying to connect the past and indicates the flexible nature of identity. Walker does not mention Mama’s real name nor does he explain the foundation of Maggie’s name and this is meant to depict their unchanging and strong ties to their heritage and family legacy. The lack of name changing by the two characters shows that their identities are stable. Dee’s name changing reflects on her lack of belief in her true heritage as she believes that her name represents the family oppressors, and views it as racist. Walker uses Dee’s character to portray the many confusing ideas that many African Americans have about their true heritage. Dee is seen not to truly understand the meaning of being African and all her actions to look African are viewed as meaningless. She differs greatly from her sister Maggie when she arrives from college and wants to possess some family quilt heirlooms. Dee does not seem to see the quilts as useful and would prefer to use them as artifacts to be used as decorations to represent a time that is long lost and from the past. Mama and Dee, however, view the quilts as very important in the family and believe that the quilts represent the presence of those that made and used the quilts. They see the quilts to be true tokens of their family origin and heritage as opposed to foreign and impersonal objects. The conflict between the three women intensifies when Mama chooses Maggie to be the one to own the quilts, as she believes that she will treat them with respect by using them in the way they were intended to be used. The theme of the diverse power of education is developed by the author through the depiction of how Dee’s achievement of higher education proves to be more divisive to the family’s relationship. Dee’s character is used by the author to show how education can change one’s view of heritage and culture. The education that Dee has received has alienated her from her family and she views her family home to be strange. Family values have been replaced by arrogant ideals and a loss of identity and heritage that only family can provide. Walker uses Dee’s character to show how education can influence an individual’s view of the life that they live. Dee’s education has caused her to have a different view on heritage and family legacy therefore causing her to disrespect anything but her own view. Walker uses the characters to depict how education, or the lack of, is harmful. Due to her ignorance and lack of education, Maggie is seen to have hampered her achievement of self fulfillment. She is portrayed as one who has accepted the circumstances of her protected life and one who does what they are told. Walker uses the yard as a symbol to represent an area devoid of the short comings and regrets that fill Mama’s life. The yard appears in the beginning of the narrative as it is being thoroughly prepared for Dee’s arrival form college. The yard is used as a symbol that represents freedom and the lack of
...Download file to see next pagesRead More
Dee exhibits confidence to the point of arrogance, while Maggie has no shred of self-esteem in her. Dee also abhors their rural life, including their house, and during her younger days, desired the wealthier city life. Maggie, on the contrary, cherishes her rural life like her Mama.
Her current work under discussion came into limelight in the year 1973. The story revolves around a lady belonging to the ‘South’ and her two daughters. Based in the arena of the 60s and the 70s the story is an outcome of the emerging ‘Black’ socialist movements hat were all flared up in those years.
She has her own dreams and aspirations but they are suppressed to satisfy her daughter. While imagining herself on a TV show, she thinks, “I am the way my daughter would want me to be.” Thus, she resigns her likes and dislikes to suit her daughter’s choices and preferences.
Mama valued being capable and useful herself. Dee wanted to show off as part of her image as a Black American with status, power and new values. She was somehow materialistic and false. These precious items, in particular the quilts, were a metaphor for the differences in values and cultures between Dee/Wangaro on the one hand and Mama and Maggie on the other.
For others, cultural items are just that – related to culture, not life. In Everyday Use, Dee covets family items not because they are part of her life, but because they are part of her culture. Her incomplete understanding of the latter is
Mama is very good at noticing the varying qualities between her daughters, especially the ones they are unaware of themselves.
Dee is a very positive, optimistic girl - when it comes to herself. Confident and sure, she has no doubts in regard to
The mother has carried and adapted to the environment she was brought up in and believes that her daughters would carry the legacy.
The story starts when Mama is having joyful memories about the reunion of her daughters Maggie and Dee. Her daughter Dee has been
People had to associate with the appropriate grouping or risk social ridicule. The commonly held notion was that the whites were superior to the African American community who therefore had to subordinate the
2 Pages(500 words)Essay
GOT A TRICKY QUESTION? RECEIVE AN ANSWER FROM STUDENTS LIKE YOU!
Let us find you another Essay on topic Everyday Use by Alice Walker for FREE!