Morals And Values In Everyday Use By Alice Walker

912 Words4 Pages
Historically, values and beliefs are ascribed to people depending on their family’s heritage. Most religious people are religious because they were brought up in a home that believed in a particular religion. There are some scholars that have been taught by the best schools and teachers due to their family having a grand educational background. Even though all individuals are different in their own right, a family normally holds the same beliefs and values as one another. Morals and values are traditionally passed down through generations, however, there are situations where social influences can play a role in deciding a person’s principals. Family members that are influenced by society rather than their families can easily become the outliers of the bunch. In “Everyday Use”, Alice Walker demonstrates how social differences such as religion, education, and status between family members can cause a disconnection within the family. Dee’s social change in religion causes a disconnection between the family. Walker makes it evident in the story that Mama is a Christian when she describes a feeling that she has “like when I’m in church and the spirit of God touches me…” (499). One could assume that both Dee and Maggie were brought up as Christians along with Mama. On her visit back home, Dee tells her mother to call her Wangero instead of Dee and uses terms such as Wa-su-zo-Tean-o and Asalamalakum which signifies that she has adopted the Muslim religion. She also brings a friend along with her who has adopted the Muslim religion as well. The story portrays Mama to seem as though she has no interest in Dee’s new name, and David Cowart explains this by stating “She [Mama] tries to have it both ways, referring to her daughter now by one name, now by the other, now by parenthetically hybridized combinations of both” (171). Mama named Dee after a family member, so when Dee changed her name to something else, a disconnection between her and the family arose. Another social difference Walker uses to illustrate a disconnection within the family is education. Mama only has second-grade education due to her school burning down and never getting rebuilt. Mama explains how Maggie has a hard time reading and “knows
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