Dee's Sense Of Heritage In Everyday Use, By Alice Walker

837 Words 4 Pages
"She thinks her sister has held life always in the palm of one hand, that "no" is a word the world never learned to say to her" (Walker, 79). As Mama Johnson expresses how Maggie sees Dee, her big sister, Maggie wonders about Dee's determined urge to challenge the world on her terms. In "Everyday Use," by Alice Walker, the boldness of a young lady from Georgia will not acknowledge being characterized by anybody. Facetiously, Dee would battle her existence, and advance over her own family to end up something unique.
Before Dee left for college, she comes off as a clamorous, harsh and judgmental person. As a teenager, Dee had the style of a white person, "black pumps to match a green suit she'd made from an old suit" (Walker, 79). Susan Farrell
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When Dee wanted to be white, the narrator “offered Dee (Wangero) a quilt when she went away to college rejected the items her mother tried to give to her before college” (Walker, 83). However, Dee did not want them because they were tacky and old-fashioned. At that time, Dee did not understand the true meaning and hard work of those quilts. Joe Sarnowski believes that “Dee/Wangero’s sense of heritage is expressed further as she recognizes several household items to be significant folk artifacts” (Sarnowski, 274). "Can I have these old quilts," Dee asked (Walker, 83). She suddenly realizes the value of the quilts. She wants them now since she understands the magnitude of her people. When Mama JohnsoJohnson denies Dee the quilts, Dee becomes furious, and accuses her of not knowing the value of her African heritage: “You just don’t understand your heritage” (Walker, 84). However, Dee misunderstands the true meaning of these quilts; the American heritage represents all the struggle her family went through over the generations, and her family’s refusal to be beaten down by troubles. Jennifer Martin once stated, “Dee cannot appreciate the quilts the way that Mama and Maggie can because she has not immersed herself in the sisterhood that created them” (Martin, 41). Dee’s family put their story inside of those quilts; they have never been ashamed of that story. Nevertheless, Dee’s problem is that she cannot embrace her American

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