Mother-Daughter Relationship in "Seventeen Syllables" and "Everyday Use"

1428 Words Nov 27th, 2011 6 Pages
In “Seventeen Syllables”, written by Hisaye Yamamoto, and “Everyday Use”, written by Alice Walker, the relationship between the mother and the daughter is portrayed. In “Seventeen Syllables”, the protagonist, Rosie is an American born Japanese (Nisei) who does not understand well about the Japanese culture, whereas her Issei mother, Mrs. Hayashi was born and raised in Japan and married to America. Mrs. Hayashi loves writing haiku, a traditional Japanese poetry, to escape from the reality of her loveless marriage. In “Everyday Use”, Mama is a traditional Afro-American woman, who receives little education and raised her two daughters by doing ‘man’s job’. Dee instead influenced by the Black Power Movement, tried to trace back her African …show more content…
The Nisei generation, who knows “formal Japanese by fits and starts”, has totally no interest on the traditional Japanese culture. However, the Issei generation sticks to their original culture and even starts magazines to trace back their life in Japan. As a result, the two generations, the Issei, Mrs. Hayashi and the Nisei, Rosie find it difficult to understand each other. It results in the isolation of the two generation.

In “Everyday Use”, there is also isolation and oppression between the mother-daughter relationship of Mama and Dee. After Dee grows up and receives education, it makes her differ from the rest of the family who only stays in the sub-urban area and receives less or no education. She is exposed to the values of the new world with civil rights and equality, which Mama has totally no idea of what they are. Dee has greater visibility and zero tolerance for equality. Also, Dee has a sense of autonomy and individuality after receiving education. These are the things that Mama has not got in touch with before. Therefore, it leads to them not understanding the action of each other. For example, Dee wants to use the churn top and quilts as artistic uses and she do not understand why they are “backward enough to put them to everyday use”. Mama however sees the churn top as a kind of heritage which has been used for generation. It is the most appropriated to use it practically. Their difference in interpretation and
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