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The Journey to Find Yourself in Everyday Use by Alice Walker Essay

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Throughout life, one has many idea’s about self identity, culture, and heritage. People are always discovering new things about themselves and how their culture and heritage helps to cultivate their identity. In “Everyday Use”, Alice Walkers shows the development of Dee’s idea of her own culture, heritage, and identity by examining Dee’s teenage years, young adulthood, and Dee’s journey to a more mature, developed and certain sense of self.
In the beginning of “Everyday Use”, Alice Walker shows the hatred and animosity that Dee feels in her teenage years through her hostility to her family’s abode, yearning need for nice things. One of the first things we learn about Dee is her resentment towards her first house that she lived in. Her mother, the narrator, describes the scene vividly: “And Dee, I see her standing off under the sweet gum tree she used to dig gum out of; A look of concentration on her face as she watched the last dingy of gray board of the house fall in toward the red-hot brick chimney. Why don't you do a dance around the ashes? I’d wanted to ask her. She had hated the house that much”(10). The fact that Walker used the word “concentration” when describing Dee’s face is noteworthy because it means that she could only watch her house burn down and not any of her other surroundings, including her family. In this sentence there is also an underlying tone of Dee’s menacing and rebellious personality. The next thing we learn about Dee is her longing for nice things. “Dee wanted nice things. A yellow organdy dress to wear to her graduation form high school; black pumps to match a green suit she’d made from an old suit someone gave me. She was determined to stare down any disaster in her efforts. Her eyelids would not ...


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...personal and special mementos of loved ones who are gone. If Dee had them they would only be wall hanging but if Maggie had them then they would be put into everyday use. Furthermore, we also start to witness that her perspective on her family has changed. Dee has started to see her culture in a new light when she was at college. She now sees that these hand-stitched quilts are important to her family.
As Alice Walker shows Dee’s idea of her own culture, heritage, and identity and how it changes though the progression of her life.With every new experience, Dee discover more about her identity. This is important because identity helps to shape and cultivate a person’s personality and actions in their life time. When growing older one discovers more about one’s self. Dee wants to start cultivating her personality by patching her past together to make a new future.


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