Dees’ misconstruction of her heritage was a source of conflict. Dee Johnson changes her name believing that it would affirm her heritage. Dee informs her mother she has changed her name, she states, “I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people that oppress me.”(184,Walker). Dee discards the name in favor of an African name, Wangero, that, although, is African, is not directly related to her heritage. Mrs. Johnson does not understand why would Dee want to change a name that has been passed down through generations. Mrs. Johnson points out to her daughter that she was not named after the oppressor, but named after her aunt, who was named after her grandmother. Dee does not pay much attention to her mother’s clarification of why the name Dee is significant to the generations of the Johnson’s women. Unlike Dee, Mrs. Johnson grasps and understands the significance of the name. Dee has taken on an African name; however, it does not symbolize anything related to her family’s heritage. The name Wangero has the purpose to display her African roots. Yet it is meaningless to her ancestors. Dee may not be an African name but it has a personal significance. Walker is trying to convey that the name is not important but what matters is the significance of the name.
Moreover Dee’s new appearance was another source to the...
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...’s materialistic connection to her heritage. Mrs. Johnson believes that culture and heritage are valuable for both its usefulness as well as its personal significance. Walker conveys the message that a person who posses real heritage and culture makes use of it everyday on their life.
In “Everyday use”, the contrasting views on heritage between a mother and daughter teaches the lesson that heritage should be value for both it’s usefulness as well as its personal significance. Dee erroneously believes to be affirming her African heritage by adopting an African name and an African appearance. She did not realize that she was discarding her true African American heritage. Due part to her leaving her hometown and becoming an educated young woman, the value placed on family objects differ from the value her mother places on the same family objects. Dee misconducts her heritage as material goods as opposed to her ancestors. Mrs. Johnson makes right use of her heritage by giving use of the objects that her ancestors once made. This suggests that ones heritage is learned and passed down from our ancestors and it is not something that one puts on carelessly.
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