Conflict over Heritage "Everyday Use"

Topics: Explanation Pages: 3 (934 words) Published: October 15, 2006
Jackie Dyer
September 29,2006
Elizabeth Holt
Mama and Dee
The underlying difference between Mama and Dee (Wangero) in Alice Walker's story of "Everyday Use" brings about the major conflict over heritage. Mama and Dee have many differences which enables them to agree on certain circumstances. The main differences between Mama and Dee are their appearances, attitudes toward each other and things around them, amount of education, and of course, their idea of what heritage really is. Alice Walker starts her story of "Everyday Use" by introducing Mama. Readers get a visual of a middle-aged woman outside on her front lawn waiting for her daughter to arrive. Mama's appearance is conservative and very comfortable looking in her overalls or flannel nightgowns. It is explained that Mama is a "large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands. (107)" These descriptions of Mama make the readers of this story imagine that Mama is actually a real person with real feelings and emotions. Mama begins her dialogue by explaining that her daughter and she do not exactly see eye-to-eye. She explains this and also the differences between her two different in a comical mood, but also provides this information in a non-biased tone. Dee (Wangero) arrives in the middle of the story. Readers immediately distinguish that there are extreme differences between Mama's and Dee's appearances. Mama uses expression such as, "A dress so loud it hurts my eyes. (109)" and "I feel my whole face warming from the heat waves it throws out. (109)", to explain Dee's appearance in Mama‘s eyes. In this Mama informs the readers that Dee definitely has a bright and very colorful sense of style. The differences in Mama's and Dee's appearance shows what kind of place Dee came from. It also shows how Dee's appearance has changed considering how Mama reacts to her new clothing and hairstyle. Later in the story Dee shows herself as a person who acts like she is fully devoted to her new religion by...

Cited: Walker, Alice. "Everyday Use." Literature and the Writing Process. Ed. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice, 2005. 106-112.
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