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The Meaning of Heritage in Alice Walker's Everyday Use

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Length: 988 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)
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The Meaning of Heritage in Alice Walker's Everyday Use  

 
Alice Walker's "Everyday Use," is a story about a poor, African-American family and a conflict about the word "heritage." In this short story, the word "heritage" has two meanings. One meaning for the word "heritage" represents family items, thoughts, and traditions passed down through the years. The other meaning for the word "heritage" represents the African-American culture.

There are three women in this short story, two sisters and their mother. One of the sisters is named Maggie and the other is named Dee. Maggie and her mother believe that the word "heritage" deals with their family?s traditions. These traditions are the only ones they have ever known and/or cared about. Dee, on the other hand, believes that "heritage" is about African culture, and she wants nothing to do with her family?s heritage until it is in style.

Throughout "Everyday Use," there are examples that show Maggie and her mother have knowledge about their family?s heritage. There are also examples that show Maggie and her mother cherish ...


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...thryn. "Dee?s Heritage." Ode to Friendship. Ed. Connie Bellamy. Virginia Wesleyan College, 1998.

Baker and Pierce-Baker, Houston and Charlotte. "Patches: Quilts and Community in Alice Walker?s ?Everyday Use.?" Alice Walker: Critical Perspectives Past and Present. Eds. Henry Louis Gates and K. A. Appiah. New York: Amistad , 1993.

Callahan, John. "Review of Love and Trouble." Short Story Criticism Vol. 5. (Essay date 1974).

Walker, Alice. "Everyday Use." Harper Anthology of Fiction. Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York: Harper Collins, 1991.

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