The Theme Of Heritage In Everyday Use By Alice Walker

1101 Words 5 Pages
Alice Walker is a renowned novelist, poet, activist, and feminist that has created a notable reputation across the globe. Everyday Use is one of her favored and outstanding short stories in which she brings attention to the hardships of African-Americans who are having difficulties coping with their personal identities in cultural terms. This short story notes a few issues of heritage which sets up a conflict between the characters of the story, each with opposing viewpoints. Walker 's use of symbol with "quilt" and the difference of understanding the legacy of family, within the characters, generates a phenomenal story.
In "Everyday Use", conflicting ideas between a mother and her two daughters about their identities and heritage are seen.
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The narrator uses the quilt to symbolize contrasting beliefs. This quilt is not just fabric put together to be used as a blanket. Within every stitch is a piece of a story, which tells one of their ancestor’s lives. Dee was angry with the harsh history within her family so she created a new heritage for herself and by doing that she rejected her original heritage. Dee gave herself a new name, Wangero, and she neglected to see that her name was a part of the legacy in her family. Dee believed that the name she chose would better represent her African heritage than the name she was given at birth. Without the proper understanding of African heritage, one may believe that simply changing your name can bring you closer to your roots. This is the reason Dee created this new name, thinking that changing a name would allow her to be more a part of her heritage. Dee also believed that her real heritage is dead and gone due to the times. Mama sees that Maggie, on the contrary to Dee, should be the one who owns the quilts, because Maggie will respect them and use them for their intended purpose. At the end of the story, Dee argues that Mama and Maggie are two individuals who do not understand their heritage, Walker intends the remark to be ironic: clearly, it is Dee herself who does not understand her heritage. In addition, Dee thinks her name is a symbol of those who oppressed her, so she comes up with a new name that has nothing to do with her family ties (Moore 1). Maggie will appreciate where she comes from every time she uses quilts. Dee believes that connecting with someone’s roots is the new thing. The Aunt Dee was named after made these quilts by hand, and yet, that has nothing to do with the reason why she wants

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