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Everyday Use Essay

  • Submitted by: tweety10
  • on December 6, 2011
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,760 words

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Below is an essay on "Everyday Use" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Each of us is raised within a culture, a set of traditions handed down by those before us. As individuals, we view and experience common heritage in completely different ways. Within smaller communities and families, deeply felt traditions serve to enrich this common heritage. Alice Walker uses three different personalities in “Everyday Use” to portray multiple perspectives on character and heritage that in turn affect and reflect back on themselves.
        In this short story, the word "heritage" has two meanings. One meaning for the word "heritage" represents family items, thoughts, and traditions passed down through generation to generation. The other meaning for the word "heritage" represents the African-American culture. Everyone has their own feelings and meaning for the word heritage and in “Everyday Use” Walker elaborates the meaning of heritage through the points of views of the three characters.
      The mother (narrator) gives her individual perspective about her two daughters. In the eyes of the mother the youngest daughter Maggie is very timid and shy. She really does not think much of Maggie at first. The older daughter Dee is the mother’s favored, she looks at Dee as being her golden child. “Dee is lighter than Maggie, with nicer hair and a fuller figure.” (Walker 418)   In the eyes of the mother Dee is very confident, beautiful, and has a mind of her own. Maggie on the other hand has very low self-esteem one reason for this is she was seriously burned in the house fire that took place when Maggie and Dee were younger. Dee is described by the mother as being the child who has “made it” because she has been educated, has moved to the city, and can easily talk to anybody.   Maggie is content to be with Mama in their unpretentious home until she marries. (Anderson) All of these wonderful praises about Dee quickly changed when Dee returned for a visit to see Maggie and the mother. The mother saw what Dee has become and was uncomfortable with it. She...

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