Everyday Use Essay

Submitted By shawntialwhite
Words: 1325
Pages: 6

What is the true meaning of heritage? Heritage is family traditions that are passed on from generation to generation. In Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use” Walker seems to display the importance of heritage between two sisters in which one is successful and the other is younger and less fortunate. When growing up we all fantasized about leaving the nest. We envisioned a successful life for ourselves; going to college, getting our dream job and building a family with someone just as successful as we are. When imagining this life for ourselves we never think about the values and traditions that were set upon us as children/adolescents and we sometimes tend to forget where we came from. If we were raised in a way which other’s looked down on us we definitely will try to escape those memories of not having what the next person had and work hard towards a thriving life. We are caught up in living a life we always dreamed about not knowing that society is changing our values and heritage that we once believed in. In “Everyday Use” we are introduced to Dee who seems to be shallow but also possess brains and beauty but is struggling with her heritage.
The story starts off with the mom and her daughter Maggie waiting in the yard for Dee to return home to the place in which she was raised. While waiting for Dee arrival the mother begins to day dream and fantasizes about a reunion with her with scenes from television programs, where a flourishing and successful daughter squeeze and hug the parents who have made her success possible. In this fantasy she is also greeted by Johnny Carson telling her how she has a wonderful daughter. But the mother could never imagine shaking hands with a white man or better yet looking him in the eye. We read that Dee is the total opposite of her mother as she would look anyone in the eye. Dee has a younger sister Maggie who was severely burned in a house fire when she was younger which cause her to be scarred for life leaving her with an ugly experience. Maggie relationship with her sister Dee appears to be jealousy and fright. Dee is educated as her mother and the church raised money to send her off to school. The mother has only a second grade education and Maggie can barely read. Dee would sometimes impose her education on her mother and sister for which her mother would resent her for. Maggie is soon to wed John Thomas and the mother would be alone to relax peacefully. Once Dee pulls up the house Maggie wanted to return to the inside of the house but she was held back by her mother. Dee arrived home dressed in long dress, gold earrings that hung to her shoulders and noisy bracelet s and she was accompanied by her boyfriend Hakim-a-barber who greeted Maggie and mother with Asalamalakim. Hakim-a-barber tried to address Maggie with a handshake but was unsuccessful because she drew back. The mother welcomed her daughter and proceeds to say “"Well," I say. "Dee." And Dee replies "No, Mama," she says. "Not 'Dee,' Wangero Leewa nika Kemanjo!" It appears that Dee has rejected her name to object being named after the people who have oppressed her. Mother informed her that she was named after her aunt Dicie who was named after her Grandma.
Mother, Dee, Maggie and Hakim-a-barber sat down for dinner and mother learned that Hakim-a-barber does not collard greens and pork but however Dee eats all her food. While eating Dee was admiring that benches they were sitting on and she was surprised her mother still had the benches her father made because they couldn’t afford chairs for the table. Before you know it Dee has already ask her mother for the top from the butter churn and the dasher which was a device with blades used to make butter. Dee stated she would use the top for a centerpiece for her table and she will think of something to use the dasher for. Dee then moved on to her mother’s room while Maggie stayed in the kitchen area. Dee went through the trunk at the foot