Everyone is raised within a culture with a set of customs and morals handed down by those generations before them. Most individual’s view and experience identity in different ways. During history, different ethnic groups have struggled with finding their place within society. In the mid-nineteen hundreds, African Americans faced a great deal of political and social discrimination based on the tone of their skin. After the Civil Rights Movement, many African Americans no longer wanted to be identified by their African American lifestyle, so they began to practice African culture by taking on African hairdos, African-influenced clothing, and adopting African names. By turning away from their roots, many African Americans embraced a culture that was not inherited, thus putting behind the unique and significant characteristics of their own inherited culture. Therefore, in an African American society, a search for self identity is a pervasive theme. The search for identity in "Everyday Use" written by Alice Walker uses the family's contrasting views to illustrate the importance of understanding present life in relation to the traditions of ancestral culture. Using careful descriptions and attitudes, Walker uses the voice of the protagonist (the mother) to demonstrate which factors contribute to the values of one’s heritage and identity; she illustrates that these are represented not by the possession of objects or mere appearances, but by one’s lifestyle and attitude. Also, in the illustration “Girl”, Jamaica Kincaid uses a mother’s voice, like Walker, to illustrate the mother’s meaning of identity. Both mothers in each story have their own outlook of what defines a person’s identity. Although each mother has different... ... middle of paper ... ...ath; it is that child’s choice on which road. It is with the forces of family, friends, media, and school that influence a child’s identity. In the words of Amiri Baraka “It is in knowing your history and where you come from, is what determines who you are” meaning your heritage is a reflection of your identity. In Alice Walker’s stories, she illustrates the importance of knowing your heritage through the character of the mother. Kincaid also gave way to the daughter knowing her heritage, by her mother giving her life challenges that she dealt with at her age, thereby guiding her daughter into not making the same mistakes as she had. Both works of literature helps readers understand that a person's state of mind is full of thoughts about who they are and what they want to be. People can try to modify their identity as much as they want, but that can never change.