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Definition Of Heritage In "Everyday Use"

552 words - 2 pages

Heritage includes a legacy of physical attributes of the past. Heritage may be inherited and maintained in the present for future generations. Some symbols of heritage can be meaningful to some people, while for others they are meaningless. Traditional heritage plays an important part of everyone’s life. Some people follow a traditional heritage so deeply imbedded in their everyday lives that they do not even recognize them as so.
In “Everyday Use” the strenuous effort to preserve the family name begins when Dee return home for a visit. Dee changed her name, a name that was passed down from her great grand mother to “Wangero Leewankia Kemanja.” Mrs. Johnson feels that it was wrong to do so, because the name Dee symbols the unity of her ancestors. Mrs. Johnson thinks she could trace the name Dee in their family "back beyond the Civil War" (Walker 54), However, Dee thinks otherwise; her name only reminded her of all the pain, struggles and injustice. "I couldn't bear it any longer, being named after the People who oppress me" (Walker 53). Mrs. Johnson thinks the new name is too long, hard to pronounce and holds no meaning to their family ties. People change their names for many reasons. Some are motivated by show business glitter, while others by religious conviction and a personal vision of how a commercially successful name is constructed. Most name-changers of the early 20th century, like “Wangero“never made the limelight. Thousands of people sees this desire to become someone else was part of a ritual cleansing, a symbolic burning of old memories.
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