The Importance Of Heritage In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

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Mama's view of the importance of an education is much different from the importance 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…show more content…
Cowart illustrates how "this house represents more than a failed poverty...the fire is the American past, a conflagration from which assorted survivors stumble forward covered like Maggie with scars of the body or like Dee Wangero with scars of the soul"(23). Wangero makes it evident that she hates her past heritage and throughout the story it is even questioned if she burned the house herself. It is something she knows would scar her in society so she hides where she came from inside of her. In "Everyday Use" Mama tells that as the house burned down she wanted to ask Dee, "why don't you do a dance around the ashes... she had hated the house that much" (Walker 162). The burning of the house to Dee represents the burning up of her heritage. She escaped from this fire without any scars externally, just as she escaped from the societal restrictions of being an African American. However, her soul was scarred. Dee can deny her past all she wants and try to put it behind her, but the fact that she comes from an African American heritage will always have a restricting hold on her
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