Heritage And Heritage In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

analytical Essay
906 words
906 words

In Alice Walker’s Short story “Everyday Use” a mother is conflicted between her two daughters and the families quilt. Maggie is uneducated and financial unstable, and Dee is a well-educated woman that’s embarrassed of her family. Each believing they are entitled to family inheritance. The story characterize heritage and how heritage is portaged differently between the two sister. The main characters in this story, "Mama" and Maggie are on one side, and Dee on the other, each have opposing views on the value and worth of the various items in their lives, this conflict makes the point that the substance of an object is more important than style. Dee is the oldest daughter of Mama’s children. She was sent off to boarding school and would visit …show more content…

Dee was part of the educated culture of African Americans that were promoting their freedom. When Dee went to visit her family she wore a long dress, long gold earrings, and her hair standing straight up on that hot summer day. Dee is not dress like everyone else, she’s in her “African” attire. (Hoel) Dee is no longer the child her mother raised; Dee is a completely different individual with a completely new life style, even a new name. Dee has changed her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo. With this name change she believes it make her closer to her heritage and relieves her from her oppressors. Dee knows very little about heritage. Heritage is defined as something that is handed down from the past, as a tradition. (Dictionary) The name Dee is the name or nicknames of many women in the family. Dee’s name can be traced back to the civil war and beyond but Dee does not understand the importance behind the name she believes her oppressors gave the women in her family. Yakima-Barber is Dee’s Muslim friend that 's visiting mama with Dee, Mama believes he might be Dee’s boyfriends husband. Yakima-Barber claims the Muslim faith but is unwilling to commit to their hard labor principles. Dee and Yakima-Barber are two individuals with misapplied assumptions of that …show more content…

Dee wants to take the butter churn to use as a center piece for her table. She also wants to take a quilt that Mama promised Maggie, and hang it up to display. All of these objects have a sentimental value but Dee wants to display these objects as art pieces but do not truly understand their value. The quilt has a special meaning to Mama. The quilt was put together by Mama, her mother, her grandmother and so one. There is a lot of history hand stitched into the quilt. Mama will not let Dee have that specific quilt because it is worth more than an art piece. “When I looked at her like that something hit me on the top of my head ran down to the sole of my feet.” (Walker) Although, Maggie will put the quilt through everyday use but she will add to it, and pass it down to her children, which add to the family’s legacy. Mama Prefers to let Maggie have the quilt since she truly understand the value it holds. During the dispute over the quilts, Maggie says “She can have them Mama... I can’ member Grandma Dee without the quilts” (Walker) That shows that Maggie does not want the quilts for decoration but it is a part of who she is, her

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how alice walker's "everyday use" characterizes heritage and how heritage is portaged differently between the two sisters.
  • Analyzes how dee is the oldest daughter of mama's children. she was sent off to boarding school and would visit the family from time to time.
  • Analyzes how dee is part of the educated culture of african americans that were promoting their freedom. she changed her name to wangero leewanika kemanjo to relieve her from her oppressors.
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