Everyday Use By Alice Walker Essay

1948 Words Nov 23rd, 2016 8 Pages
Everyone defines and identifies themselves in different ways. Whether it’s by our names, our religion, or our sexuality, we all have something different that make us unique and that we identify ourselves as. In Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use,” an African American woman tells the story of her daughter Dee’s long awaited visit. Upon her arrival the mother and her other daughter, Maggie, discover some drastic changes in Dee: she has changed her name to Wangero, she also arrived with a mysterious man who calls himself Asalamalakim, and has adopted an African style of dress in order to depict what she sees as her heritage. During the course of her visit, Dee tries to take several items, important to her family’s heritage. “Everyday Use” was written during a point in history during which African Americans were fighting to obtain their own identity in America. Pan-Africanism resurged during this time, and many African Americans began to adopt characteristics of African culture, such as the African style of dress or a traditional African name. Due to what they saw as their heritage, African Americans began to identify as African and strayed away from American culture. Dee comes to identify with this group and becomes a part of their discourse. In her story, Walker uses her characters to as symbols of the various factors that makes up an identity. The author depicts identity as something that is able to change instead of being a fixed entity. This idea can be described…

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