Essay on The story Everyday Use Review

Essay on The story Everyday Use Review

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The story “Everyday Use” tells the story of a mother and her two daughter's differing views about their identities and heritage. In “Everyday Use” Alice Walker uses descriptive imagery and metaphors to communicate to readers the importance of heritage. She also shows how it is a part of life that is meant to be shared with each generation. The main characters in this story, "Mama" and Maggie on one side, Dee on the other, each have conflicting views on various items of historical and cultural significance. In the story Maggie and Mama are anticipating the return of Dee who has been away at school. They have never particularly got along due to their differences, though they seem to be at least amicable towards each other. While Maggie values their history in the traditional sense, with everyday acknowledgement of how important these things are, Dee portrays their heritage as something that’s meant to be shown off. Although Maggie and Dee appear to both value their heritage, in reality they see the concept in totally different ways.
From the moment Dee was introduced in “Everyday Use” it was clear that she saw things a lot different than her family had. Early on it was established that Dee and Maggie were polar opposites.
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Alice Walker states “Dee is lighter than Maggie, with nicer hair and a fuller figure” (71). With this Walker gives an example of how Dee and Maggie were different not only in their views of heritage, but also in their appearance. As the story continues, Mama speaks of a time where she thought Dee hated Maggie. She describes an incident that resulted in the burning of their previous house. Although never directly stated, it was apparent that Maggie was severely injured in the fire. Walke...

... middle of paper ... Dee responds “I couldn't bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me” (73). In this statement Walker describes the conflicting views of what heritage is. To Dee she sees her name as a reminder of the people who had oppressed her culture for so many years. It is because of this that she decided to change her name. In contrast Mama tries to explain that Dee’s name is a part of her heritage as it was the name of her ancestors and passed down over time. In comparison Maggie does not seem to share her sister’s views on what their family’s culture is. This could be due to the fact that Maggie has always valued her heritage and never viewed it something she had to live up or down to. It was just a part of who she was. Maggie's base for her heritage is her simple and basic connection to her mother and their home, while for Dee it's the idea of it.

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