Everyday Use

Topics: Family, 25th century, 2003 in film Pages: 4 (1338 words) Published: January 8, 2012
A Contrast between Dee and Maggie’s View Concerning Their Heritage

In my writing essay I shall analyze the way in which heritage can be conceived in Alice Walker’s novel Everyday Use, trying to point out the author’s main ideas concerning the theme of the story. I would also try to describe the two daughter’s points of view, Dee and Maggie’s, about their ancestral heritage. The contrast between these two daughters is more than obvious not only in their appearance but also in their behavior when it comes to quilts from their grandmother.

Everyday Use is a story narrated by a rural black woman, who is the mother of the two girls Maggie and Dee Johnson. Mrs. Johnson, is a simple woman but who, in spite of all difficulties that she passed through, she tried to give her daughters if possible, a good education and of course the most important thing, to make them aware of what heritage is indeed, the fact that traditional culture and heritage is not represented only by the possession of old objects, but also by one’s behavior and customs. She outlines in the story that she is not a very educated woman, but this does not mean that the lack of education is also reflected in her capacity to understand, to love and to respect her ancestors.

Since the beginning of the story, the narrator makes obvious the contrast between Maggie and her elder sister Dee. Dee is a very ambitious girl, with a well-defined character, the one who had always been successful and ambitious. Maggie thinks “her sister has held life,

always in the palm of one hand, that “no” is a word the world never learned to say to her.” (Walker 2469). Dee denies her real heritage by changing her given name, after her aunt Dee, to the superficially more impressive one Wangero Leewanik Kemanjo, arguing to her mother that “Dee is dead and I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me” ( Walker 2472), what she does in fact is to reject her family identity....
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