Critical Research Essay On Everyday Use By Alice W

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Critical Research Essay on Everyday Use by Alice Walker It is argued that Dee Johnson is a shallow, insensitive, self- absorbed daughter and sister. Critics say she passed up her right to her true heritage for a false African heritage all because she has adopted an African name and she has failed to learn how to quilt, a skill that critics will have you believe is vital to Dee’s understanding of her true identity. Her hair and style of dress are called into question as though they are a deliberate slap in the face to her family. Dee is lambasted for wanting to protect and display everyday household items that were handmade by her now deceased relatives. She cannot even take a picture of her family’s house without critics attacking this act as her need to prove where she came from. Dee’s generation is experiencing a Cultural Revolution and Dee is embracing these new ideologies. These accusations, along with others, are an unfair critical view of a sharp-witted, attractive, intelligent women who has used her God-given qualities to better herself, wish better for her family and try to identify not only with her present day heritage but also with the ancestral heritage that many black Americans share. Not only do her critics find this display of cultural insight a slight to her true heritage but her Mama appears to have some reservations concerning her daughters’ motivations as well. Prior to Dee’s arrival home, Mama is recalling her recurring dream of how she thinks Dee would prefer Mama to look and act. It is unfair of Mama to assume that Dee would prefer her “a hundred pounds lighter, my skin like uncooked barley pancake” (456). Mama is putting words in Dee’s mouth and intimating that Dee is shallow and critical of her Mama’s appearance. Susan Farrell writes that it is Mama who is “ashamed of her own appearance and very much seeks her daughter’s approval” (1).
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