Dee's Tradition In Everyday Use By Alice Walker

Improved Essays
Everyday Use by Alice Walker is a look into the life of a fictional family’s tradition though the objects in the story. At the heart of the story is Dee, and her mother, who is partially nameless save for the surname Johnson, who had distinct views on upholding their family’s tradition. Although it eventually caused the two characters to develop some friction in their relationship, both of them were only trying to nurture their tradition in the way the best know how.
Dee valued the “authenticity” of the objects. For Dee, an object was authentic if it was handmade or it showed any semblance of a traditional way of life. Her mother, for instance, suggested Dee take a different quilt, but Dee refused because it was “stitched around the borders by machine” instead of by hand. This explained why “everything delighted her” when she came home, which was a treasure cove of legitimate tradition by Dee’s definition. There were the benches made by Dee’s father that had tangible “rump prints” and the quilts that had “pieces of dresses [her] Grandma used to wear”. It made Dee running her hands along the bench or “stroking” the quilts more understandable, given her view. Dee’s aesthetic tendencies also hugely influenced how she treated the objects in the story. When Dee went for college, her
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I like the idea of using the objects every day because I would feel like I’m taking part in the history as well, and I was leaving a mark in my own tradition like the dips in the dasher’s handle. As shown by Dee’s mother, it’s not the object itself that lends its importance but rather the act of making it a normal part of daily life. While I can see the appeal of conserving the objects like Dee, in the long run I think I would just feel alienated from my tradition. Much like esteemed artworks in galleries, visitors can only view them from a distance. And that is something I would hate to happen: to be a visitor, a foreigner in my own

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