Character Analysis: Everyday Use

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“Dee Files”: Is She Honest or Is She a Hypocrite?
In the story, “Everyday Use,” by Alice Walker, Dee is portrayed as a hypocrite towards her heritage by not understanding what her true heritage is. The author shows that Dee does not really have any interests in her family heritage and has little understanding of the important aspects of her family history. She fails to realize that her mind is completely blocked from her true heritage and fills it with completely new beliefs. In “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, the author shows that heritage is valued objects and qualities that are passed down from generation to generation, and it represents the family’s importance, and because Dee does not understand this true meaning of heritage, her interest in her heritage is very hypocritical and splits her relationship with her family apart.

Dee changes her heritage to fit her own beliefs rather than, keeping her actual heritage and learning about her own family history. It is first seen that she changes her heritage, when Dee changes her name to “Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo” because she “couldn’t bear… being named after the people who oppress [her]” (pg. 55). The author shows that Dee gets rid of the name passed down from generation to generation and throws away a piece of her heritage. Dee indicates that her ancestors and elders whom she was named after oppress her, because she refuses to accept the culture and heritage of her family. Another example of her changed heritage is when she gets out of the car, wearing “a dress down to the ground… A dress so loud, it hurts [Mama’s] eyes.” After being away to college, the author portrays Dee with a completely different style of clothing, not leaving one piece of traditional clothing, which gives a sign of Dee fading away from her heritage. Here, the author allows the reader to see that Dee does not understand her heritage and that her new appearance does not accurately represent her heritage.

Even though Dee changes her...
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