The Use of Heritage in Everyday Use and A Pair of Tickets

Satisfactory Essays
The Use of Heritage in Everyday Use and A Pair of Tickets

A key factor in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use,” and Amy Tan’s “A Pair of Tickets,” is heritage. Throughout both stories the use of heritage can be seen easily. Walker’s avoidance of heritage in her writings and Tan’s understanding of heritage in her writing. Through this readers can see the true meaning of heritage. Understanding both sides of these two stories gives readers a chance to explore their own heritage and reflect on how they accept their past.

By contrasting the family characters in “Everyday Use,” Walker illustrates lost heritage by placing the significance of heritage solely on material objects. Walker presents Mama and Maggie, the younger daughter, as an example that heritage in both knowledge and form passing from one generation to another through a learning experience connection. However, by a broken connection, Dee the older daughter, represents a misconception of heritage as material. Dee, the “heritage queen” portrays a rags to riches daughter who does not understand what heritage is all about. Her definition of heritage hangs on a wall to show off, not to be used. Dee’s avoidance of heritage becomes clear when she is talking to Mama about changing her name, she says, “I couldn’t bear it any longer being named after the people who oppress me” (Walker 75). Thus resembling that Dee just takes another name without even understanding what her original name means. She tries to explain to Mama that her name now has meaning, quality, and heritage; never realizing that the new name means nothing. Changing her name bothers Mama and Maggie because Dee’s name is a fourth generation name, truly giving it heritage. Dee likes to gloat to her friends about how she was raised, so she tries to show off by decorating her house with useful items from her past. Her argument with Mama about taking quilts that were hand stitched as opposed to sewn by machine gives readers a chance to see Dee’s outlook of heritage is short lived. Dee says to Mama, “But they’re priceless. . . Maggie would put them on the bed and in five years they’d be in rags. Less than that!” (Walker 77). Mama will not allow her daughter to take the quilts because she has been saving them for Dee’s sister, Maggie, and she wants the quilts to be put into everyday use. By helping
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