Racism, passive acceptance, and forces beyond her control set Mama on the road that led to her life of toil. When Dee contends at the end of the story that Mama and Maggie do not understand their heritage, Walker intends the remark to be ironic: Walker sets up this contrast to reveal an ironic contradiction: She has little true understanding of Africa, so what she considers her true heritage is actually empty and false.
Themes The Meaning of Heritage Angered by what she views as a history of oppression in her family, Dee has constructed a new heritage for herself and rejected her real heritage. When she was a child, her school was closed, and no one attempted to try to reopen it.
Dee, with her knowledge and worldliness, is a threat to the simple world Mama and Maggie inhabit, and Dee seems determined to lord her knowledge over them. Mama herself was denied an education. Uneducated, she can read only haltingly.
Dee arrives at the family home as a strange, threatening ambassador of a new world, a world that has left Maggie and Mama behind.
Dee was fortunate that Mama gave her the opportunity for advantages and refinements, but they have served only to create a wedge between Dee and the rest of the family.
These things are not, in and of themselves, problematic. Her desire to hang the quilts, in a museumlike exhibit, suggests that she feels reverence for them but that to her they are essentially foreign, impersonal objects.
Maggie, on the other hand, knows no world but the one she came from. She has set herself outside her own history, rejecting her real heritage in favor of a constructed one.
Both education and the lack of it have proven to be dangerous for the sisters. She desires the carved dasher and family quilts, but she sees them as artifacts of a lost time, suitable for display but not for actual, practical use.
She misstates the essential facts about how the quilts were made and what fabrics were used to make them, even though she pretends to be deeply connected to this folk tradition.
By doing what she is told and accepting the conditions of her sheltered life without question, Maggie has hampered her own self-fulfillment. She fails to see the family legacy of her given name and takes on a new name, Wangero, which she believes more accurately represents her African heritage.
Education has separated Dee from her family, but it has also separated Dee from a true sense of self. Mama understands that Maggie, not Dee, should have the quilts, because Maggie will respect them by using them in the way they were intended to be used.
Furthermore, Dee views her real heritage as dead, something of the past, rather than as a living, ongoing creation.Read Everyday Use: An Analysis of Heritage free essay and over 88, other research documents.
Everyday Use: An Analysis of Heritage. Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” is the story of a woman, referred to as Mama, and her two daughters, Maggie /5(1). Free Essay: Heritage is one of the most important factors that represents where a person came from. In “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, this short story.
Understanding The True Meaning Of Heritage. Print Reference this.
Published: 23rd March, Last Edited: Through the story "Everyday Use" Walker presents that heritage is a practiced tradition. If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have the essay published on the UK Essays website then please click on the.
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ESSAYS, term and research papers available for UNLIMITED access. Everyday Use study guide contains a biography of Alice Walker, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. The Meaning of Heritage in Alice Walker's Everyday Use Essay Words | 4 Pages.
The Meaning of Heritage in Alice Walker's Everyday Use Alice Walker's "Everyday Use," is a story about a poor, African-American family and a conflict about the word "heritage.".Download