Diversity of Heritage Essay

Submitted By lisaingram212
Words: 744
Pages: 3

Lisa Ingram
Ms. Bostick
ENG 111-60
March 18, 2013

Heritage is the combination of morals, family values and history, that runs deep within a particular family. In “Everyday Use” a short story by Alice Walker, the title takes a diverse stance as it relates to the Johnsons’ family heritage. Narrated by mama herself, the story depicts a family divided. Mama and her daughters Maggie and Dee all share the same bloodline; however their perspectives on morals, family values and status all differ. Mama does not seem to notice that times are changing, in addition Maggie prefers being in the background. Surprisingly, they have both accepted their status in life. Dee, on the other hand has always wanted better for herself. In fact, she associates doing better in life with family values. Mama is not very pleasing to the eyes; she is the very opposite of what society has deemed pretty (1). Also, Mama is not a well- educated woman. She is not educated at all, as she shares with us. “I never had an education myself. After second grade the school was closed down” (2). Without much thought, Mama honors her heritage by continuing the bloodline and keeping the family’s name sake. Mama is content with her life just the way it is, naturally. It is all she’s ever known. Maggie, mamas’ youngest daughter is like day is to night, compared to her older sister Dee (2). Maggie has grown accustomed to being in the background; while Dee is always in the lime light. “Maggie will be nervous until after her sister goes, she will stand hopelessly in corners, homely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs” (1). After the fire, Maggie displayed more signs of being wounded. As if not being as pretty as Dee wasn’t enough. It was as though Dee held the world in the palm of her hand, never hearing the word “no” (1). In any case, Maggie continued to carry the torch. Living out old traditions and keeping fond memories was how she honored her heritage. Dee (a.k.a Wangero) is mama’s oldest daughter. She manages to escape the throes of family life by getting an education. Dee ventures out into the world, outside of her yard, in a small town. She always had a taste for the finer things in life. “Dee wanted nice things”, she had style and knew what style was (2). Without a doubt, Dee was determined to be nothing like her family members. She would make something of herself. As far as Dee was concerned, heritage had nothing to do with bloodline, traditions or history. It was unquestionably one’s hard work made into something tangible. Dee has changed her name to” Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo”. Since erasing any traces of her family heritage; she returns…