Everyday Use

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In Alice Walker’s story, “Everyday Use” the story is portrayed with much of a power struggle over Dee thinking that she has more of a grasp on the family’s heritage then the rest of her family. While Mamma and Maggie have a very different take on things. This story is based in 1960’s-1970’s, when African American’s had overcome so many obstacles. The real obstacle seems to be the power struggle over heritage between mamma, and Dee. The story begins with mamma and Maggie waiting on the front porch for Dee, the older sister to arrive home for a visit. Dee arrives home and immediately steps out of the car, “A dress down to the ground, in this hot weather. A dress so loud it hurts my eyes. There are yellows and oranges enough to throw back the light of the sun. I feel my whole face warming from the heat waves it throws out. Earrings, too, gold and hanging down to her shoulders. Bracelets dangling and making noises when she moves her arm up to shake the folds of the dress out of her armpits”.(Walker, 1944, Para 20) Her clothing shows she is strong, independent, very classy, all the things her mamma and sister were not. Dee arrives home with a man, not sure if it’s her husband or not.

Dee said she had changed her name to “Wangero” “I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me.” (Walker, 1944, Para 27) She no longer wants to go by the name her family has given her, in her head she feels like she is fighting back against the oppression and embracing her heritage, when in all actuality she is being someone she is not. Wangero is a person who feels like she is a strong African woman who doesn’t want any association with her families past in the civil war era. She feels as though she is connecting to her roots by changing her name but, she only asked for valuables when she was home visiting her family, nothing sentimental. Even though the churn top was made by her uncle, it didn’t mean anything to her, it was a material item. “This churn...
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