Everyday Use Essay

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Kara Wagner Professor Heafner English 102 –C05 20 February 2015 One Mans Everyday Use is Another Man’s Treasure Everyday Use is the story of a family showing how they appreciate and embrace their cultural heritage through different ways . Dee is a college student who took the opportunity to further educate herself about her ancestry. Whereas her Momma and sister, Maggie, are uneducated, but celebrate their ancestry in ways they have been taught from past generations. The story highlights the contrasting ways these characters accomplish the same goal, which is paying respect to where they came from, whether it be short term or long term. The moral of Everyday Use is to show that people embrace, respect, and celebrate their cultural heritage in different ways, and no exact way is right or wrong. Dee takes on more of an educated, and long term approach when it comes to how she respects her culture. Alice Walker introduces Dee with her speaking another language, “”Was u zo Tean o!” she says, coming on in that gliding way the dress makes her move” (3). Dee greets Momma and Maggie in a language that she believes is the language of her ancestors. Since Momma and Maggie are taken aback by this, it is obvious that they do not recognize the language, and Dee had learned it while away at school. Dee even goes as far as to request to be called by a different name, “”No, mama,” she says. Not ‘Dee,’ Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo!... I couldn’t bear it any longer being named after the people who oppressed me” (4). Dee changed her name to one of African culture because she feels it is her true heritage. This makes momma remind her that she was named after her Aunt Dicie, but Dee questions her further to see where the name truly originated from. What Dee was trying to get across is that heritage runs back hundreds of years, and she only has interest in paying respect to the

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