Family Heritage

Good Essays
Literary Analysis Paper

In today's society it has become a much sought after fad to gain knowledge of ones heritage. There are several info-commercials encouraging the benefits of searching out heritage. Gaining Knowledge of the history of ones family can provide a recollection of family history (genealogy), personal history, life advice, medical history and past career paths of ones ancestors. Heritage is valued by many cultures. To recognize and honor the past traditions of our ancestors is a tradition in itself that is passed down from generation to generation. In the short story "Everyday Use", by Alice Walker, Mama exhilarates to the importance of the family heritage and how it is respected and valued by her daughter Maggie.
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Furthermore, Mama sees "heritage" as ones true identity and origination. Maggie is Mama's daughter whom shares the same interpretation of heritage. Maggie is depicted as an emotionally and physically scarred young woman. Maggie is not well educated. She is shy and embarrassed of her appearance. Her skin is darker than that of her sisters and she is not as pretty. Maggie lives with Mama. The two work hard side by side in every detail of everyday life. The items made by relatives that are used for everyday life such as the churn, dasher and quilts are symbolic reminders to Maggie and Mama of the family members who made them. The quilts were hand sewn and represent pieces of living history that documents in fabric the lives of generations and he trials that they faced such as war and poverty. The quilts are a testament to the family's history and pride and struggles throughout the years. Maggie respects the laboring efforts of her ancestors and would harbor the quilts therefore, not finding any interest in displaying the quits as a collection of items from her "heritage" but would continue to use them for everyday purposes. Maggie has an appreciation for who she is and what barriers had to be faced in order to provide for the family. Furthermore, she has an understanding of what family and is traditions truly are. Maggie is truly content with her …show more content…
The story "Everyday Use", the author Alice Walker is providing a message to her readers of the significance of knowing and hold in respect ones heritage. Some people feel as though it is irrelevant and traditions are archaic. Consequently not necessary for the modern times in which we live. Appreciation and connection to ones heritage can help identify with others with similar mindsets and backgrounds. Furthermore, a sense of unity with a group and a sense of belonging can be founded. Cultural history provokes a map of which leads to answering the question of where one came from with a better understanding of past generations. By acknowledging and preserving our cultural heritage we are able to relate to a community of ones same kind. So thus agriculture, food, clothing, landscapes, architecture, religion all can be preserved and carried on from generation to generation. Mama and Maggie embrace their family history as one to be proud of. These ladies never have any doubt of who they are or where they came from. Appreciation of family heritage starts with understanding the culture. Only then may we value it. From there family history can be learned and cared for and eventually enjoyed. Heritage is no doubt who we

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