Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin In The Sun” and Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” are both stories that are connected by the common factor of family values. Although both stories have their own individual qualities it is the heritage and importance of family that brings both stories together. The similar personalities of Beneatha from “A Raisin In The Sun” and Dee from “Everyday Use” are a good example of how family values dominate the stories and the characters in them. Both Beneatha and Dee come from families rich in culture, history and traditions but strive to find individuality outside of their family’s norms. However, it is the way in which they approach conformity that is a testament to how one should and shouldn’t go about this process.
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Both female protagonists appear to be torn between two worlds. While their ambitions are to seek out their own freedom and identity they’re also not looking to deny their own heritage. Rather, they are trying to acknowledge it in different ways. Beneatha shows this after she meets Asagai and soon becomes absorbed with native dresses, music, and hair. Dee recognizes her heritage by contemplating changing her name and expressing interest in a quilt her mother made that symbolized their family background. While they both seek to keep traditions alive, it is also apparent by their actions that pursues these values from a selfish perspective, while the other’s ambitions are more genuine.
Dee’s voice is being explored with a multiplicity of vocality and a divergence that represents what it means to be young. Yet she can be criticized because her freedom extends to only her and little else. She does not see herself as connected to the family, a unit that sacrifices for her and helps to allow her the freedom she so treasures. In trying to divulge into her family traditions, she becomes self-centered and naively neglects her family. This is a trait her mother recognized back when Dee used to attend boarding school. “[Dee] used to read to me without pity; forcing words, lies, other folks’ habits, whole lives upon me, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice” (Walker, 560). Through Dee’s education