Alice Walker's "Everyday Use"

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B. Rembert Professor Owens English 1101 1 September 2012 In Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use,” the story symbolizes the different perspectives of what heritage truly represents and the value of significant items. Sisters, Dee and Maggie, both strive for their Mama’s acceptance and love. Maggie, who is timid yet caring, envies her older sister. However, Dee feels quite different towards her sister. She shows resentment towards Maggie and insults her intelligence. Dee has no respect for her culture nor understands the worth of family heirlooms that Mama cherishes as “Everyday Use.” Both Dee and Maggie cherish the quilt that represents a piece of family history but only one truly values the quilt for its worth. While waiting for Dee to arrive, Mama speaks of her yard as clean and like an extended living room. This indicates she takes pride in her yard and home. Upon her arrival home for a visit, Dee informs Mama and Maggie she now goes by the name Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo. Dee declares, “I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me” (Kennedy, X. J., & Gioia, D. 73). This statement expresses Dee’s disgrace on her family name that stems beyond the Civil War. Dee attempts to reinvent herself to her African heritage by wearing flashy clothing and jewelry when in fact she does not understand her own heritage. After the bizarre welcoming of Dee and her male companion, Hakim-a-barber, everyone sits down to have dinner. Dee suddenly jumps up after glancing around the kitchen and grabs the churn top and dasher. The churn top and dasher is very fascinating to Dee and she has the idea to use them as a centerpiece for an alcove table at her home. “Aunt Dee’s first husband whittled the dash,” Maggie told Dee while she was inspecting the items. “Maggie’s brain is like an elephants,” Dee says, laughing, as she insults her sister (Kennedy, X. J.,
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