Everyday Use By Alice Walker

1725 WordsApr 27, 20177 Pages
Aalia Qazi Mrs. Smith English II Pre-AP Period 6 17 April 2017 Everything is Not What it Seems Sometimes people forget that heritage has to do with truly understanding their past. Many often misrepresent it, especially the younger generations who just accept its presence. Alice Walker’s short story, “Everyday Use,” revolves around an African American family that consists of three women, who are very different from each other. The story begins with Maggie and Mama waiting in the yard for Dee, the main character, to visit from Augusta. Dee is the first person in her family to attend college, which creates distance and conflict between her family and her. The narrator, Mama, provides some background information about her simple…show more content…
Not realizing she is named after her African American aunt, Dee could not stand the possibility of her name being tainted with an association to a white person. Despite Dee wanting to use her education to condemn African American oppression, Walker presents her as the opposite of someone who has a good grasp on the importance of heritage. Ironically, when Dee makes big claims about how unjust the treatment towards her ancestors was, she contradicts herself when she disregards her own unique heritage. Dee is confused about who she wants to be and what she wants to portray. On the other hand, Matthew Mullins prompts the reader to take another look at Dee’s character that is completely separate from the first. In his criticism, Mullins claims that he “...could respect her and sympathize with her attempts to make something of herself in a world in which black women are expected to conform to...stereotypically passive roles...” (3). Even though Mullins agrees that Dee is an unlikeable person, he suggests that the reader should pity her. Dee, a strong and independent woman, is unfairly presented as someone who is selfish and mean. In contrast to her mother and sister, she represents many women in society whose potential is overlooked and simply put into the negative limelight. She is not someone who can just accept social norms; instead, she is very ambitious in her

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