Central Conflict Between Mother and Daughter in Alice Walker’s "Everyday Use" and Any Tan’s “Two Kinds”

Topics: Family, Amy Tan, 2003 in film Pages: 3 (980 words) Published: July 26, 2008
Central conflict between mother and daughter in Alice Walker’s "Everyday Use" and Any Tan’s “Two Kinds” In “Everyday Use” Alice Walker depicts a cultural conflict within a family and explores the concept of heritage. “Everyday Use” tells how a mother eventually rejects the values of her educated daughter and celebrates the values of her younger daughter. The setting of “Everyday Use” takes place in the late 60’s, early 70’s. Narrated by the mother of two daughters, the story opens with an examination of the yard, “I will wait for her in the yard that Maggie and I made so clean and wavy yesterday afternoon. A yard like this is more comfortable than most people know (1360)”. This description suggests that the narrator is proud and takes pride in nature and in her surroundings. Mama and her younger daughter, Maggie, await the arrival of the elder daughter, Dee, who left home for college and has returned for a visit. Mama describes Maggie as a “lame animal, perhaps a dog run over by some careless rich person” and Dee as “lighter than Maggie, with nicer hair and a fuller figure (1361)”. Historically, the tone of a black person’s skin affected the way they were treated during the historic slavery period in the south. Light-skinned blacks received better treatment than dark-skinned blacks. This description leads the reader to believe that Mama favors the beautiful, light, educated and more experienced daughter over the more docile, weak daughter. As Mama reflects on how, as a child, Dee hated the house in which they lived as it appeared as it was a joyous moment for Dee when it burned to the ground. The reader can conclude that Dee feels a sense of freedom, freedom from poverty and her ancestors. Mama and Maggie enjoy the simple lifestyle of their ancestors, while Dee is ashamed and disconnected from her heritage. When the author uses the phrase, “No Mama” she says. “Not ‘Dee,’ Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo!” “What happened to ‘Dee’?” I wanted to know. “She’s...
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