Every Day Use By Alice Walker Essay

Every Day Use By Alice Walker Essay

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Young adults all around the world have to choose in which way they wish to grow up and what they would like to grow into. Sometimes individuals choose to follow the footsteps their mothers and fathers have taken. For example, they carry the same beliefs and cultures that their parents taught them into their adult life and into their future families. Others may decide to make their own path in which they live. In Alice Walker’s short story, “Every day Use,” we learn that one of the family members in the story is an individual who belongs to the group of making their own paths in their life. This character is also known as Dee. Dee chooses to reject her family roots and heritage.
“Everyday Use” is a short story explaining the conflicts that arise in a family when a member, or specifically Dee, decides to not follow the way the family has always been. From the very beginning of the story, readers are given the idea that the visiting of Dee won’t be an ordinary occasion. The fact that the mother and sister are trying to impress Dee with their house apparel shows that Dee hasn’t been there in a long time. Dee never visited her family after being sent to college with the church’s money. Dee believed she was superior to the people she was being raised around. Unlike them, she had an education and was able to read. Readers can gather that the mother and sister, Maggie, have cleaned are concerned of what Dee will think of them, when they clean their yard for the arrival of Dee. The mother states that if it were Dees way she would be “a hundred pounds lighter, my skin like an uncooked barley pancake. My hair glistens in the hot bright lights. Johnny Carson has much to do to keep up with my quick witty tongue” (Arp 167). This information g...


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Through out this short story, Dee’s attitude towards what she’s doing while rummaging through her mother’s house items shows that she is trying to live differently than what they have. Dee puts herself above others, and thinks that her history is much different than those who raised her. She visited for the sole purpose of collecting items that belong to Mama and Maggie’s everyday world, to portray her “black heritage.” It is obvious based on what Dee wanted to do with the belongings that she didn’t know the importance of these items. She didn’t value the belongings as much as Mama and Maggie did. She is ignoring the reality of what black women and men had faced and are still currently facing. Instead she is coming up with an ideology of what she wants to live. In other words, Dee or Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo has chosen to reject her family roots and heritage.

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