Standing up for what is right is not an easy task, but it is necessary to protect those who can not defend themselves. “Everyday Use” is about Mama and her decision to choose sentimental values over materialism. Dee is the educated yet selfish sister of Maggie, who is self conscious and withdrawn because she had been scarred by a house fire. After a very long time, Dee returns to her home in search of materialistic goods so that she can preserve her family’s heritage by turning their culture into a commodity. Dee believes that possessing items with traditional value will allow her to understand her cultural heritage, and this symbolizes her misconception of viewing heritage as a material entity. However, Mama and Maggie clearly defines family and cultural heritage through their knowledge of everyday traditional practices, such as churning butter and quilting. Maggie and Dee are sisters, but they are like the two ends of a stick. Although they have been brought up in the same home and raised by the same mother, this is as far as their similarities
Beginning with “The Medicine Bag” , the main character is Martin. His Grandpa, who is an Indian on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, came to visit him and his family. When Martin's sister, Cheryl, saw their grandpa, she got extremely excited and couldn't wait for her friends to come and meet him. Martin on the other hand was not too excited. He
This shines light upon her Native American roots and how it can be an inspiration for her Century Quilt, each square representing her family’s racial diversity and mixed roots. It is quite difficult to learn of all the harsh animosity they were enduring, such as Meema and her yellow sisters whose “grandfather’s white family nodding at them when they met” (24-27). The hostility is clear as the white relatives only register their presence; no “hello” or warm embrace as if they didn’t acknowledge them as true family. However, with descriptive imagery, the speaker’s sense of pride for having the best of both worlds is still present as she understands Meema’s past experiences and embraces her family’s complexity wholeheartedly; animosity and all.
In the poem Heritage by Linda Hogan, Hogan uses the tone of the speaker to demonstrate the shame and hatred she has toward her family, but also the desire for her family’s original heritage. The speaker describes each family member and how they represent their heritage. When describing each member, the speaker’s tone changes based on how she feels about them. The reader can identify the tone by Hogan’s word choices and the positive and negative outlooks on each member of the family.
In the short story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, the two main characters, Maggie and Dee, are sisters who are very opposite to each other. Throughout the story, the girl’s differences become evident through their physical appearances, personalities, lifestyle decisions, and the way they feel about their heritage.
There can be great comfort in understanding one’s heritage especially when it involves the deep love and devotion of a strong mother. The poem combines family and love with the quilt to show the memories that she has shared threw the generations that have had the quilt. In the poem “my mother pieced quilts” by Teresa Paloma Acosta and the short story “ Everyday use” by Alice Walker, both author’s use imagery and figurative language to establish a quilt as a symbol for family, love and memories to illustrate their themes.
Every individual has traditions passed down from their ancestors. This is important because it influences how families share their historical background to preserve certain values to teach succeeding generation. N. Scott Momaday has Native American roots inspiring him to write about his indigenous history and Maxine Hong Kingston, a first-generation Chinese American who was inspired by the struggles of her emigrant family. Kingston and Momaday manipulate language by using, metaphors, similes, and a unique style of writing to reflect on oral traditions. The purpose of Kingston’s passage is to reflect upon her ancestor’s mistake to establish her values as an American
Together with the beliefs comes heritage which is defined as traditions passed on for years, family items and etc. In “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, describes about a poor family who have a different perspective about the word “heritage”. “You just will not understand. The point is these quilts, these quilts”. This quote connects to the title of the story because Dee thinks that Maggie and her mother will use the quilt every day. Dee has a whole different perspective of the quilts. She views the quilts as a small reminder of her heritage, that is dying. For her mother and her sister, the quilts symbolizes a bond to their cultural identity and their connection to the quilts. Because Dee has failed to understand the true meaning to their “ heritage” and she is convinced that Maggie has proven that she understands the value of the quotes symbolize in the true meaning of a person’s heritage.
Many people see the world and others differently. Just like the two sisters in “Everyday Use”, the two sisters in “Two Ways to Belong in America”, and the father in the letter/short essay “An Indian Father's Plea”. All these people have different past and things they’re going through. The two sisters in “Two Ways To Belong In America” both have their different stories from their past, one likes America the other does not because they betrayed her. Next, the father from “An Indian Father’s Plea” sees America differently because the school was labeled his kid a “slow learner” which made him upset. In addition, the two sisters from “ Everyday Use” argue about a quilt in which they both view differently
Alice Walker, a famous author, stated in her short story, Everyday Use, “Dee (Wangero) looked at me with hatred. “You just will not understand. The point is these quilts, these quilts.” Each person’s identity is shaped from a culture that is built with the offering of everything in his or her surrounding environment. Culture is one of the most important factors, though there are many other contributing factors, that can influence someone’s perspective on the world because all of their opinions, decisions, and morals are all based off of their surrounding environment. In the poem and story, “My Mother Pieced Quilts” and Everyday Use, they both demonstrate how one’s cultural identity is influenced by his or her surroundings, changing the
In Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use”, Walker juxtaposes two different daughters in their quest for a cultural identity. The narrator, their mother, talks about how each daughter is different; Dee went off to college and became well-educated, contrary to their impoverished and low status as black women in the south. Meanwhile, Maggie isn’t nearly as educated as Dee is, but is still literate. The entire story centers around Dee’s visit with her new Muslim significant other. The story’s climax is when Dee wants to take two special quilts back home, but those quilts are for Maggie. These precious quilts comprise their culture. Henceforth, Dee does not deserve to take the quilts with her because she has decided to take on a culture that varies significantly from her own and she is already used to getting what she wants.
Traditions and old teachings are essential to Native American culture; however growing up in the modern west creates a distance and ignorance about one’s identity. In the beginning, the narrator is in the hospital while as his father lies on his death bed, when he than encounters fellow Native Americans. One of these men talks about an elderly Indian Scholar who paradoxically discussed identity, “She had taken nostalgia as her false idol-her thin blanket-and it was murdering her” (6). The nostalgia represents the old Native American ways. The woman can’t seem to let go of the past, which in turn creates confusion for the man to why she can’t let it go because she was lecturing “…separate indigenous literary identity which was ironic considering that she was speaking English in a room full of white professors”(6). The man’s ignorance with the elderly woman’s message creates a further cultural identity struggle. Once more in the hospital, the narrator talks to another Native American man who similarly feels a divide with his culture. “The Indian world is filled with charlatan, men and women who pretend…”
Her parents, first-generation immigrants from Puerto Rico, try to guide her and give her advice, but ultimately the difference in cultures could not be reconciled. What was acceptable and expected in Puerto Rico was not the same as in America, and it showed. Cofer’s mother, when giving Cofer clothing advice, did not realize how different American girls dressed compared to the Puerto Rican girls. The bright lipstick and more revealing clothes that Cofer was encouraged to wear on a day to day basis were not commonplace for American girls. Cofer also did not dress correctly when it came to formal events. Often not knowing what to wear, she would mix and match pieces of clothing and accessories until she found something she thought looked presentable. However, this still was not right. In fact, a friend of hers pointed out that you could always tell Puerto Rican girls apart from the rest of a group because they tended to “wear everything at once.”