In “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, the narrator, Mama, describes her life with her daughter Maggie and their awaiting homecoming of her oldest daughter Dee who left town to pursue her education. When Dee arrives, she dresses in a brightly colored, orange and yellow ankle dress, these colors indicate a sign of change is approaching. Dee also states how she has renamed herself to “Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo” and that the Dee they knew is dead. Wangero (Dee) is persuaded that the name “Dee” was given to her by white oppressors, therefore her new name provides her with a new sense of identity and tradition – leaving behind the life she was born into. However, Wangero’s reasoning behind her name change is culturally incorrect, Mama traces the family history of her name and proves Wangero wrong. This also continues throughout the story as Wangero treats their tradition as a set of artifacts, regarding the house to be something to photograph and objects within the house as art centerpieces
In her strikinglywell-kept yard, Mama Johnson and her daughter Maggie await the arrival of Maggie’s sister Dee, who went off to become successful in a big city. Dee’s always been the daughter to shine brightest considering the fact that Maggie was severely burned and scarred in a house fire. The fire scarred Maggie physically andhad “likewise scarred her soul” (Velasquez).Maggie’s scars caused her to feel self-conscious and inferior to hersister Dee. Mama expects Dee’s visit, to be like those reunions she sees on shows including the show with a “sporty man like Johnny Carson” (Walker 715).To Mama’s surprise her daughter’s visit happens to be a tragicmoment when Dee becomes greedy and asks for items from the house to use as decor in her city home. Dee’s lack of understanding family heritage causes Mama and Maggie to be faced with family
Not many people know their family’s heritage. Matters such as where their ancestors come from or what trials he or she went through are typically lost in the hands of time if not kept in check by members of the family. In Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use,” that is not the case of Mama, the narrator of the story. However, for her elder daughter, Dee, it is, nor does she particularly care to know. Dee is a woman who does everything in the name of her style. One aspect that is clear she does not think is part of her style is her family’s meager lifestyle. In fact, it is safe to say that Dee has an inability to understand the meaning of ‘heritage’.
Dee Wangero holds on the necessity of being educated. In "Everyday Use" Momma describes at one point how Dee "burned us with a lot of knowledge we didn't necessarily need to know"(Walker 112). In the era Mama was raised, women were expected to cook and clean and find meaning in life through these daily household chores. Momma inherited her name and the typical role black African American women were socially fit to do, and this satisfied her. She saw no need for an education when everything was fine in the stagnant place she held in society. In Sam Whitsitt's In Spite of it All: Reading Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" he writes, that quilting
Not too long ago, grandparents will tell family stories to their grandchildren. Parents will also tell their children family stories. Those family stories will contain family history, struggle and heroism of family members. Also, those stories will pass down the family values and traditions to the next generations. Now a days, most parents read stories from books to their children. Family story telling is an almost lost tradition because it is not practiced anymore. In her short story “Everyday Use”, Alice walker illustrates the importance of keeping a tradition alive other than preserving it.
She anticipates that soon her daughter Maggie will be married and she will be living peacefully alone. Mama decides that she will wait in the yard for her daughter Dee's arrival. Mama knows that her other daughter, Maggie, will be nervous throughout Dee's stay, self -conscious of her scars and burn marks and jealous of Dee's much easier life. Mama fantasizes about reunion scenes on television programs in which a successful daughter embraces the parents who have made her success possible.
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 wants to emerge as dependent on her African heritage. She changes her family’s name to more African style name, Wangero. Dee also changes her fashion style to a more traditional African style. Dee depends on her new heritage as history, while her mother dependence of it is practical use. Dee pushes away her mother’s traditional values, but keeps the history of them instead of their everyday use.
Heritage is one of the most important factors that represents where a person came from. In “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, this short story characterizes not only the symbolism of heritage, but also separates the difference between what heritage really means and what it may be portrayed as. Throughout the story, it reveals an African-American family living in small home and struggling financially. Dee is a well-educated woman who struggles to understand her family's heritage because she is embarrassed of her mother and sister, Mama and Maggie. Unlike Dee, Mama and Maggie do not have an education, but they understand and appreciate their family's background. In “Everyday Use,” the quilts, handicrafts, and Dee’s transformation helps the reader interpret that Walker exposed symbolism of heritage in two distinctive point of views.
Heritage is something that comes to or belongs to one by reason of birth. This may be the way it is defined in the dictionary, but everyone has their own beliefs and ideas of what shapes their heritage. In the story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, these different views are very evident by the way Dee (Wangero) and Mrs. Johnson (Mama) see the world and the discrepancy of who will inherit the family’s quilts. Symbolism such as certain objects, their front yard, and the different characters, are all used to represent the main theme that heritage is something to always be proud of.
The condescending attitude and request from Dee leads Maggie to feel ashamed of her life for a moment and she nearly gives the heirlooms away. “She can have them, Mama,” were the words of...
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.
“I am a large, big boned woman with rough, man-working hands” Mama describes of herself in the short story Everyday Use by Alice Walker. Mama, who additionally takes the role of narrator, is a lady who comes from a wealth of heritage and tough roots. She is never vain, never boastful and most certainly never selfish. She speaks only of her two daughters who she cares deeply for. She analyzes the way she has raised them and how much she has cared too much or too little for them, yet most of all how much they value their family. Mama never speaks of herself, other than one paragraph where she describes what she does. “My fat keeps me hot in zero weather. I can work outside all day, breaking ice to get water for washing” (Walker, 60). She does not need to tell readers who she is, for her descriptions of what she does and how her family interacts, denotes all the reader needs to know. Although Mama narrates this story rather bleakly, she gives readers a sense of love and sense of her inner strength to continue heritage through “Everyday Use”.
In the story, Maggie is the younger sister and she got burn in a fire. Mama Johnson is the mother of Maggie. Maggie also has a sister name Dee. Dee has a problem. The problem is the she don’t know what is true representation of heritage. Dee is the only good educate from her family. Maggie didn’t go to school and she is very shy. Dee takes a friend name Hakim-A-Barber. Dee and hem are the black power movement. Hakim-A-Barber is very religious and he doesn’t what is true representation of heritage.