Compare/Contrast on Theme of the Family
A person's definition of a family can be based on their beliefs and culture. The way a family deals with problems and moves through life showcases their views on what a family is. This could be shown through their history, their cultures or their present nature. Both James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" and Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" are similar in the importance of family ties and how they view family.
In both "Sonny's Blues" and "Everyday Use" the importance of family ties are revealed. In "Everyday Use" the characters have strong connections to their ancestral roots and family ties. By changing her name to "Wangero", her appearance and her mannerisms Dee believes she is confirming her African heritage. The family has conflicting ideas about their identity. Mama and Maggie's connections to their heritage comes from their memories, not their race so they're confused about Dee's new image. Each of them values their possessions for different reasons because of their differing viewpoints.
Mama has strong family ties and views family as important. She believes that her heritage is something to be cherished. One can see this in the way she handles the situation with her daughter Dee. In the end, Dee wants to take her grandmother's quilts to "display them". She says '"these are all pieces of dresses grandma used to wear. She did all the stitching my hand. Imagine!" She held the quilts securely in her arms, stroking them… Maggie can't appreciate these quilts!" She said. "She'd probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use."' (423-424) Mama decides to give them to Maggie because she thinks she will use them as they were intended.
Similarly, the two brothers in "Sonny's Blues" have importance in their family ties. When the narrator's mother makes him promise to take care of Sonny, it tells us something about the unconditional love of family. All she wants is for him to always remember to keep Sonny within reach, no...