Alice Walker Heritage

Heritage is often defined as “practices or characteristics that are passed down through the years, from one generation to the next. ” The short story Everyday Use by Alice Walker tells a tale of a family of a mother and her two daughters, one of whom denies who she really is and the other who readily accepts it. Conflict of self-identification with one’s heritage is the main theme portrayed through the classic mother-daughter relationship, as Wangero, the eldest daughter, takes family-owned possessions and turn them into decorations, as though they have no true meaning, all for the sake of proving her false heritage. From the beginning to the end of the story, Wangero denies her true heritage and family in favor of a more idealistic heritage she’s manufactured for herself. When questioned by her mother as to why her name has changed from Dee to Wangero, she responds, “I couldn’t bear it any longer being named after the people who oppress me”(318). …show more content…
She insists the mother gives the quilts to her and argues, “Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts! she said. She’d probably be backwards enough to put them to everyday use”(320). What wangero fails to realize is that the quilts were created with the intention of being put to “everyday use”. Maggie learned to quilt from her grandmother who had created the quilts, and thus would be more likely to use these quilts every night and think of her family and those who made it and the memories they shared, whereas Dee would hang them up on a wall somewhere until they were no longer in style. The quilt is of nothing but material value to Wangero, as explained when she pleas, “But they’re priceless!”(320). They are simply wall decorations to her, something that could easily be bought and sold that holds no sentimental value, no relation to her culture for

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