Everyday Use Alice Walker

Topics: Self, 2003 in film, Given name Pages: 2 (635 words) Published: November 12, 2011
In the story Everyday Use Alice Walker illustrates the importance of understanding our present life in relation to traditions of our own people and culture. One’s culture and heritage are taught from one generation to the next. A person who possesses real heritage and culture uses it every day. Maggie’s identity was shaped by learning her culture through her mother while living in their childhood town. The story starts out telling us that Dee is coming to visit her mother and sister, Maggie. Their mother is very excited but Maggie is quite nervous. Maggie has burn scares all over her body and feels more self conscious of them when Dee is around. Maggie is envious of her sister’s beauty. When Dee arrives, Maggie and their mother learn that she has changed her given name to a different name. This shows her being ashamed of her culture and background because she was willing to change her birth name. In the book Dee states, “…no matter where we ‘choose’ to live, she will manage to come see us” (348). This shows how Dee is ashamed where she comes from by saying they live there by choice and could have the opportunity to live in another place. Mother describes how Dee is dressed in detail and how different in appearance they are. This also reflects how much Dee is changing herself because we can see the 2 differences in each woman. The mother goes on to describe her rugged appearance and how her hands were rough and well-worked from everyday use. “In real life I am a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands. I can kill and clean a hog as mercifully as a man. I can work outside all day breaking ice to get water for washing”(347). Maggie can appreciate the things she has because of her mother’s hard work. This was passed on to Maggie and helped to shape her identity. During dinner at the home Dee scanned the house looking for things she could take with her to help decorate her own home. She was not looking to keep her heritage alive by using these items...
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