Dee’s American Dream
The American Dream is the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. Since the United States became an independent country in 1776, Americans have pursued their own dreams, all hoping to earn money, own land, and lead a life not dictated by anyone else. In Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use,” Dee is a shining example of an American pursuing her dream and succeeding at it. Dee came from a background of poverty. Her lineage includes slaves and farm workers that were never able to better themselves enough to rise above the poverty. She knew since she was little that the country was not for her. She wanted an education. She wanted to move to the city. So Dee worked very hard from the time she was a child to become educated and literate enough to go to college. Dee accomplished that, and when she got there met more people similar to her. She met African Americans that felt they need not be hindered by their poor backgrounds. One of the wonderful things about America is that there is no caste system. A man or a woman may be born poor and uneducated, but he or she does not have to stay that way. Americans can be as successful as they set their minds to. Dee was born with this mentality. Her background did not mean much to her in respect of how successful she would be in life. “Everyday Use” begins with Mama and Maggie, Dee’s younger sister, awaiting Dee’s arrival. She is coming home for a visit after being away at college in the city for a long time. When she arrives she looks much different than Mama and Maggie. She is dressed in a way that can be described as stylized African clothes. She is wearing a bright orange African styled dress, is wearing big gold jewelry, and is wearing her hair in a natural afro. She has also brought with her a man that could be her husband, she does not say for certain. The man greets Mama with the Muslim greeting “Asalama leikum”, and since Mama cannot pronounce or perhaps remember what he says his name...
References: Johnson, Y. (2000). Alice Walker. Dictionary Of World Biography: The 20Th Century, 1-3.
Cowart, D. (1996). Heritage and deracination in Walker’s “Everyday Use.” Studies in Short Fiction, 33(2) 171.
Farrell, S. (1998). Fight vs. Flight: A Re-evaluation of Dee in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use”. Studies In Short Fiction, 35(2), 179.
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