EveryDay Use Using the contrasting conceptions of heritage - Essay Example

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Name: Course: Tutor: Date: Everyday Use is a brief narrative that centers on the cultural disagreement that goes on between the narrator, Mama and her daughter Dee. While Mama is a woman who is extremely proud of her heritage and often does everything she can to maintain it, her daughter seems to lean towards a different direction…
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EveryDay Use Essay Using the contrasting conceptions of heritage
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"EveryDay Use Using the contrasting conceptions of heritage"

Mama seems to be of the opinion that the family should follow the family traditions as have been followed by her family since those generations that were enslaved. Dee, as an educated African American, on the other hand seems to be a proponent of the belief that she should identify with her African heritage rather than the one which developed through the enslavement of her people. This is perhaps the reason why she even chooses to adopt an African name and discards the one which has been in her family for generations and could be traced "back beyond the Civil War" (Walker 54). It seems that when Dee went to college, she ended up losing all the familiar signs and symbols of social intercourse that she had been used to when she lived with her family. She had to adapt herself to a different style of living conditions and practices in a new cultural setting and this proved to have a long term effect on her life. In addition to this, it is possible that her choice to identify more with her African heritage rather than the one practiced by her immediate ancestors may have developed because of the feelings of alienation that may have come into being living in a society that was Caucasian dominated. Dee is contrasted with Maggie, her younger sister, who has chosen to adapt herself to her heritage without question since it is said that she is able to conduct those activities, such as sewing quilts, which are an integral part of her heritage. While Maggie has conformed to her heritage, Dee displays a character which is highly complex considering many of those articles which she seems to admire from her culture, to be for decorative purposes. When her mother states that she intends to give her precious quilt to Maggie as a wedding present, Dee protests, stating that “Maggie can't appreciate these quilts…..She'd probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use” (Walker 399). Dee, because of her education and her immersion in Caucasian culture, has become what one would consider to be highly modern; living a different way of life from that in which she was raised. When faced with such a situation as Dee is in the story above, some individuals often choose to completely immerse themselves in the new culture which they have encountered in an attempt to fit into the structure of the new society. In the story she states “You ought to try to make something of yourself, too, Maggie. It's really a new day for us. But from the way you and Mama still live you'd never know it” (Walker 112). Such people often shun the culture which they previously used to practice and instead develop a very negative attitude towards it. Others, such as Maggie, tend to only choose to adopt those aspects of the new culture that they encounter that they find to be useful. However, they remain loyal to their heritage and it is in very rare occasions that they may end up faltering. In conclusion, it can be said that the only way through which the heritage of individual can be preserved is by the said individual living it. Heritage can only be transmitted if it is practiced and this should be encouraged to not only create cultural understanding, but also to develop awareness of the heritage among the younger generations. Family members should always work together towards the preservation of their heritage through putting the different aspects of this heritage into practice. They must ensure that they understand their heritage so Read More
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