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Alice Walker's Everyday Use Essay

1563 words - 7 pages

Heritage is something that people see in various ways. When many people think of heritage they think of past generation and where their family comes from. Other people place their heritage on the value of things, such as old quits that are made from something sentimental. In Everyday Use this is exactly how Maggie thinks of heritage. She wants the quits that were handmade out of her grandma’s dresses because to her that is a sign of her heritage. Alice Walker’s story is based on heritage. The narrator of the story has two daughters who could not be more different. One daughter, Dee, is beautiful and cares a lot about finding her place in the world, and about fashion. Maggie on the other hand is very practical. She does not see any reason for fashion and is okay with her placement in this world. This is because she is like her mother. Her mother is someone who has had to work very hard to provide for her daughters. She prefers the hard work and takes pride in what she is able to do. When Maggie comes back to visit she brings her abnormal husband with her. She has changed her name and all of a sudden cares a lot about her heritage. She keeps asking to take things that she knows have been in the family for a while. Her mom is okay with this until she tries to take the quilts that she has already offered to Maggie as a wedding present. This is the last straw for her mom and she tells Dee no, which causes Dee to get angry because she knows that Maggie will actually use the blankets and they will fall apart in a few years. Dee leaves angry and then Maggie and her mom move on with their lives. This is a very effective story because they story shows two very different views, creates entertaining characters, and contains a powerful message.
In Everyday Use, Alice Walker uses her characters to show two very different views on heritage and how that should be remembered. ““What don’t I understand?” I wanted to know. “You Heritage,” she said” Dee’s mom is a very practical person and uses everything for its intended purpose. To her items do not have the same sentimental value as memories do. Dee is the exact opposite because she places so much value on items. From a young age she was very obsessed with fashion and her appearance to the outside world. When her house burned down she did not even seemed concerned because she had hated that house. Her mom, however, would never want a house to burn down because to her it represented hard work and survival. She knew that her family needed a house to survive and she did not care how big it was, or what it looked like. Because of the value she placed on being in style when her mom offered her quilts that her grandma had made she did not want them because they were out of fashion. Ironically a few years later she wanted that same quilt because to her it seemed to represent her heritage that she tries so hard to get away from. “Identity was partly heritage, partly upbringing, but mostly the choices you make in life. ~...

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