Materialism And Heritage In Alice Walker's 'Everyday Use'

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Skimming through Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use,” one might presume the story is about an African-American mother who doesn 't truly grasp her heritage. After further analysis, it’s easy to see that’s not the case here at all. “Everyday Use” is a beautiful short story that captures a battle between materialism and heritage. Alice Walker, an African-American woman herself, does an excellent job portraying this battle between the two, and showing her readers what truly matters when it comes to family and heritage. In this story, we have four characters who contribute to the overall message. We first meet “Mama,” who describes herself as a hard-working, bigger woman. She lives in what I imagine to be a run-down farm house. This house bares no real windows, has a tin roof, and is located in a pasture on a dirt road. One of Mama’s daughters, Maggie, lives with her in this house. Maggie is very timid and shy, as she has been since a tragic house fire years ago, which…show more content…
I don’t believe she’s a bad person at all, just a student who is still learning and desperately trying to educate herself on her background. The only problem is that she fails to actually get to know her actual family. If she never changes her views, I strongly believe Wangero will regret this deeply when she’s an older woman. She’ll find herself surrounded by pieces of art and displays, while not actually having any family or personal history to reflect on. Alice Walker left us with such a strong message regarding what truly matters when it comes to heritage and family. She makes it very clear that heritage is really nothing without family, when she chooses to make Wangero an antagonist. Going back to David Coward’s critique article, he put it perfectly when he said, “she (Wangero) seems willing to lose her soul to be free of the baleful influences that she thinks have shaped

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