Culture and Heritage in the Story Everyday Use by Alice Walker

Categories: Everyday use

In the story of “Everyday Use' by Alice walker where the author expresses the extreme importance of culture and heritage. The author uses the characters to explain how important culture and heritage are. The main characters of the story are Mama (Mother) and her two daughter Dee who also known as Wangero and Maggie. The story told through the eyes of Mama who realizes how Dee becomes a member of the black nationalist and Maggie how she feels about the African American culture and the heritage and the obvious difference between their views.

In the story, walker uses symbolism and character development to show the importance of respecting, the value and the true meaning for the African American culture and heritage. In the story "Everyday Use" Walker uses the Mama's House as symbolism to represent culture and heritage. When Dee arrives at her mother house and view of the house is the symbol of her childhood.

First thing that she notices the benches which symbol of her past.

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Along with the benches, author uses another symbol of butter churn and dash, the quilts symbolize African American culture and heritage. While speaking of these items, in the story where walker writes "There were a lot of small sinks; you could see where thumbs and fingers had sunk into the wood.” [Pg-367, Para:50 L:11] where author point out that behind the butter dash, there is history. Author continuous describing the dash say that "it was beautiful light yellow wood, from a tree that grew in the yard where Big Dee and stash had lived.

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" [Pg:367, P:50, L:12]. The details show the history of the dash which indicate walker value heritage. Both item bench, the butter churn and dash through author represent her appreciation of knowing the history behind things. In other item the quilts, which represents symbol of African American tradition. Also use the item to represent entire past of the family that time back to the day of civil war. They not only represent the past but also represent the work of the family members. In the story where Maria Lauret agrees when she says that the quits represent“ the black woman's tradition of creative yet useful needlework”.[Pg: L: ]

However, the author uses character development to show toward to her respect and value for African American culture and heritage. In the story there has three main character; the most changes shown in the story is Mama. Mama start story talking about her two daughters. One of the daughter is Dee who is prettier and smarter. She said in the story “Maggie think her sister has held life always in the palm of one hand, that “no” is a words the world would never learned to say to her" [ Pg:363, L:9] Mama says because Dee get everything what she desire for, Including Mama no one denies her for anything. In the story "Mama distaste for Dee's egitism is tempered by her desire to be respected by her daughter”[pg: L: ) where it shows that Mama changes her character during the quilts scene, as she realize Maggie, not Dee should have the quilts because Maggie will respect them by using them in proper way it has to be used.

In “Everyday Use” where walker uses Mama's changes character and how she presence her daughter to defend her point across about the importance of the value and tradition in the African American Culture. In the conclusion, Throughout the story Alice walker uses symbolism and character development to show her own feeling for culture and heritage, which is most significant of respecting the value of family and tradition. The Symbol of the benches, the butter churn and dash and the quilts represents the history of the African American culture and tradition. The character development of Mama, Dee and Maggie help to show the different point of view that one may have for the culture and heritage.

Updated: Nov 21, 2022
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Culture and Heritage in the Story Everyday Use by Alice Walker. (2022, Apr 23). Retrieved from

Culture and Heritage in the Story Everyday Use by Alice Walker essay
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