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Everyday Use

By OmarG1 Jun 14, 2013 832 Words
Omar Jimenez
Advanced English 10
11/27/09Everyday Use
    The short story “Everyday Use”, by Alice walker, begins with a family of three: Maggie, Dee, and “Mama”(there mother). The author never reveals her actual name. However Dee being old enough to attend college leaves off to college. When she comes back from college, she begins to express herself in different ways, a way that is more liberal. By the authors description she is dressed differently, she talks differently, she even changed her name to Wangero. However she starts gathering things that her mother and her sister, Maggie, owned to express her heritage, she has the wrong idea of heritage, her heritage lied in her own name passed from her grandmother to her aunt to her. the name that she carried, Dee, was passed along for three generations, which she didn’t realize. The author shows symbolism and point of view throughout the story through the family’s name,Dee, the quilt, the house, and the mother explains the story where the author uses point of view. The objects that make Dee the person she is, are disrespectful, selfish, and self-centered. Dee’s selfishness is emphasized through the mothers first person point of view, which might be bias, however in a line where Dee says “don’t get up.”, when she got back from college and was already dressed and spoke differently. she soon starts taking pictures of her mother and sister. This quote shows that Dee wasn’t really excited about seeing her mother and sister, it enforces how self-centered she actually is. She only cared about taking pictures to have her heritage, but the family was there so it didn’t really made sense.After she took pictures of her family, house, coffee pot, etc. She starts taking things from the house such as the quilt grandma Dee had made for Maggie. Dee began to want it, but since maggie was already use to Dee getting her way, she agreed for Dee to keep the quilt because she didn’t need much to remember grandma Dee since she interacted with her way more than Dee. She claimed this was all to preserve her heritage. A symbol that is used through out the whole story is Wangero’s, Dee’s, name. Mama tries to explain how her name came from past generations of the family, Dee asks “and who was she named after [Auntie Dee]?” The mother replies that it was grandma Dee who carried the first generation of Dee, but that its went her auntie and then to her. However Dee still claimed her name was wangero. The mother saw that wangero quickly became un interested in this subject, so she let the conversation go. However even though Wangero may not realize/care about it. Her name origianted from her grandma then to her auntie, and lastly to her. The heritage she is looking for so hard for has been right infront of her eyes. Her own name. However Wangero does not care for this and still claims her name is what she called herself Wangero.

Another symbol showed in this short story is the house. Before Wangero arrived home, the mother thinks to herself about the old house and starts comparing it to the new house they live in with Maggie and Wangero. The mother already knows what wangero will do. She says “No doubt when Dee sees it she will want to tear it down.” This symbolizes the way the family views one another and also the way they live. Once Dee arrived home, she starts to take pictures of her mother, Maggie, and the house, always making sure the house comes out in the background. Wangero’s mother thinks to herself, She does this because she wants to be able to prove that she comes from an African-American background, to show that she is cultured based on her family. Obviously going away to college made Wangero a totally different person who just wanted to show off or “embrace” her heritage but the way she wanted to do it was the wrong way. To conclude Wangero looks for many thins through out the story to embrace her “heritage”, but never actually realizes how important her name was to actually achieve her goal, embrace he heitage. Even if she achieved her goal and embraced her heritage without acknowledging her name. she would still have the wrong idea and just enforces the idea of Wangero/Dee being a self-centered person. She just cared about gathering things to show her heritage back in college and she didn’t even treat well her family the true living heritage she has. If she truly wanted to embrace it she would have treated Maggie and Mama better. Also this short story is bias in some ways, especially because the mother is telling the story. However the story may be one side of a coin but it still doesn’t change the fact that Wangero/Dee disrespectful, selfish, and self-centered.

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