Heritage And Identity In Everyday Use By Alice Walker

714 Words3 Pages
Everyday Use Essay “Everyday Use,” by Alice Walker, is a thought-provoking short story that touches on the subjects of heritage and identity. Throughout the story, the two main characters, Mama and Dee, undergo transformations as they attempt to find their true identities. Mama transforms from a mother that favors her outgoing, oldest daughter over her more reserved, youngest daughter to a protective one that is comfortable with her own way of life. Dee changes from an impoverished girl who is ashamed of her upbringing, to a fiery young woman who is secure in her “African roots.” In the beginning of the story, Mama dreams that she and Dee are finally reunited on a television show. “Sometimes I dream a dream in which Dee and I are suddenly brought together on a TV program…but of course all this does not show on television. I am the way my daughter would want me to be” (pg. 104). In the dream Mama is slim and fair skinned, but in reality, she is large with working hands. Mama feels like she doesn’t live up to what Dee wishes she was like. She wants to make Dee happy, and this shows later on in the story when she tries to make her other daughter, Maggie, stay and get along with Dee when she comes. “Maggie attempts to make a dash for the house, in her shuffling way, but I stay her with my hand. “‘Come back here,’ I say. And she stops and tries to dig a well in the sand with her toe.” (pg. 105). When Mama sees Dee’s new Afrocentric identity, she tries to accept i. For
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