The Historical Themes In Everyday Use By Alice Walker

1251 Words 6 Pages
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines heritage as “the traditions, achievements, beliefs, etc., that are part of the history of a group or nation (Merriam-Webster).” Our heritage can affect who we are and how we define ourselves. Sometimes our heritage can be redefined with new generations. Each person can perceive their heritage differently. Some people are proud of their heritage while others want to leave it in the past and start over. What’s good for one person may not be good for another even within the same family. In 1973, Alice Walker who is a novelist, short story writer, poet and a political activist, wrote “Everyday Use”. “Everyday Use” is a short story that follows two sisters, Maggie and Dee, who live with their mother in …show more content…
It takes place in the deep south during the mid to late 1960’s - early 1970’s. This was a time when African-Americans weren’t very well liked or respected. Niwar A. Obaid wrote a literary analysis about “Everyday Use” and researched what was happening during the time Walker wrote her story. “The history of Africans in America is filled with stories of pain, injustice, and humiliation. It is not as pleasing as a colorful African heritage that can be fabricated, like a quilt, from bits of pieces that one finds attractive. It is a real heritage that is comprised of real people: people who are deserving of respect and admiration” (Obaid 6). Walker’s story is her way of telling others that their history and culture is not static and cannot be viewed and understood by just looking at a picture. Walker wanted to drive home the point that she wants the reader to be a living part of …show more content…
Walker reveals this moment when Mama has a revelation during the scene where Dee wants her mother’s quilts that have been made from articles of clothing from previous generations but were promised to Maggie, “When I looked at her like that something hit me in the top of my head and ran down to the soles of my feet. Just like when I’m in church and the spirit of God touches me and I get happy and shout (Walker 321)”. This quote talks about how Mama (the narrator) realizes that her daughter Maggie views their culture and heritage just as she does. Her other daughter Dee wants to frame the quilts, which shows their heritage. Mama wants a living, active family history that can be worn, felt and touched. To Mama, seeing the family history behind a frame leaves her not feeling

Related Documents