How Is Everyday Use A Materialistic Connection To Her Mother's Heritage

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In “Everyday Use”, Alice walker tells the story of a mother and her two daughters’ conflicting ideas about their identities and ancestry. She personifies the different sides of culture and heritage in the characters of Dee, Maggie and the Mother, each with its different qualities and philosophies in life. Mama is a simple, countrywoman that valued culture and heritage for its usefulness as well as its personal significance by living and doing simple things in life. She shows disdain for Dee’s materialistic connection to her heritage. Maggie is the shy, passive sister that is similar to mama in her simple way of life but remembers the meaning of her heritage. Dee represents a materialistic and modern way of life where culture and heritage are…show more content…
It implies that her connection with the quilts is personal and emotional. It means a lot to her because of the people they represent and not merely because of the concept that they were stitched by hand. In contrast, Dee believes that traditions are about African culture and wants nothing to do with her family’s heritage until it is in style.

Dee is ashamed of her family’s heritage and what they represent. After she moved to the city and become an educated and sophisticated, young woman, she wrote to her mom that she would always visit, “but will never bring her friends” (Walker 3). She doesn’t want her friends to know the real conditions of living that her family have and the backward way of life they live. She grasps the African tradition and culture, yet, fails to acknowledge her own African American culture. Dee is misconstruing her heritage as material goods as opposed to her ancestor’s habits and way of life. When she informs her mother and Maggie that she has changed her name, she states, “I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me” (Walker 4). Dee does not want to be associated with her family’s culture and by changing her name; it gives her a sense of…show more content…
She wants the churn top “as a centerpiece for the alcove table” (Walker 6). She does not make the personal connection to history that her mother and sister does. She admires the benches because of the texture, not because her father made them. As with the case of the quilts, while her mother thinks they should be useful and not decorative, Dee believes that they should not go to use and should be displayed. She wants her family to step into the future and be a part of the world as it is. As she leaves home, she tells Maggie that, “It’s really a new day for us. But from the way you and mama still live you’d never know it” (Walker 8). Mom and Maggie don’t want to be changed by the outside culture that Dee embraces. They are confused and intimidated by her new image as “Wangero”. Their own connections to their heritage rest on their memories of their mothers and grandmothers. They prefer to remember them for who they were as individuals. To them, their family heritage is everything around them that is involved in their everyday lives and everything that was involved in the lives of their ancestors. To Dee, heritage is the past, something to frame or hang on the wall, a mere artistic reminder of her family
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