Everyday Use By Alice Walker Essay

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Living in a time period where male supremacy was present and relationships within a black family were deemed less significant than those relationships in a white family, Alice Walker created “Everyday Use” as a cultural critique on society. Through the character Mama, Walker depicts a strong female figure that raises her children and tries to better her family with the skills she possesses. Similarly, the character of Dee (also known as Wangero) reveals the idea of societies impact on in individual. Overall, this black family’s dynamic in the short story, “Everyday Use”, is Walkers criticism of her society. Walker’s character of mama is a strong female figure in that although she may have never received an education, she worked hard in the …show more content…
When Dee returns home from school, she states, ‘“Not ‘Dee,’ Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo!” […] “She’s dead,” Wangero said. “I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me (813).”’ Dee claims that her birth name is a product of the society her grandparents lived in; which included slavery that oppressed African Americans. Ironically, when Dee tries to obtain the quilts that her grandmother made, but doesn’t succeed, she exclaims, ‘“You just don’t understand […] your heritage (816).”’ Dee wants her mother and sister to appreciate the quilts for their cultural history, but doesn’t wish to be called “Dee” because of the way it was derived in her history. Walker uses Dee to show that society has caused her only value her heritage through “artifacts”. Ultimately, the short story, “Everyday Use”, was Walker’s critique of her society and the way it values culture. Through the character Mama, Walker presents a strong woman who is closely tied to her culture; since she still quilts like her mother with her daughter. Unlike with Mama, Walker uses Dee to depict societies influence on a person and their perception of their culture. All in all, Walker challenges her society by creating a short story critiquing its views on

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