Theme of Heritage in Walker's Everyday Use Essay

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"Growing up in Different Eras of time and disparities between the quality of education affect peoples’ perception of heritage."

"Everyday Use" by Alice Walker was an inspiring story of family and heritage. Simplicity against complexity. The old ways and the new ways. It was about people fighting for change and other people who were content with the way things were. The story takes place in the 60’s or 70’s and is written in the first person from the mother’s perspective. She has two daughters Dee and Maggie who are complete opposites. Maggie is a shy, not so smart black woman who is scarred from a fire
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Dee is an attractive, outgoing, educated, strong minded black woman who is tired of being oppressed by white society and discovers her African roots, knowledge of self and takes great pride in it. It seems that she looks down on or pities her mother and sister because they are simple country folk who are uneducated and seem content with the way their lives are. The different perceptions of heritage between Mama and Dee are due to the different eras of time they grew up in and the disparities of the quality of education between them. Mama or Mrs. Johnson grew up in the 1920’s and was forced to stop going to school when she was in the second grade because the school was closed down. Alice Walker notes that Mama says, “Don’t ask me why: in 1927 colored asked fewer questions than they do now.”(walker 158) This reveals that Mama only had a second grade education and that in the 1920’s most black people did not question the authority of white society. Mama barely knew how to read and lacked in the knowledge of the history of her people pertaining to the Atlantic Slave Trade, the countries in Africa her ancestors came from and the cultures and customs of these African countries. To Mama this history
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