A Lesson About Family: Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” Essay Sample
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Many sociologists define the term values as cultural types of criterions by which people step goodness and beauty. These values besides serve as wide guidelines for societal life and human interaction. For the most portion. values are different for different civilizations. However. there are many cosmopolitan traits that cultures portion. For illustration. most universe civilizations have some signifier of music. They have services for matrimony and services for decease. These illustrations chiefly help to specify a civilization. nevertheless. the values that are placed on them tend to be reasonably common. In today’s universe. household values are values that seem to be losing importance among people.

Unfortunately. many people today can merely follow their households back two or three coevalss. In 1973. Alice Walker wrote a short narrative about a female parent and her two girls that lived in a clip when household members could follow their family tree back one hundred or two hundred old ages. “Everyday Use” is a narrative about household values and the struggle that can happen when those values are compromised. Upon reading Alice Walker’s short narrative. “Everyday Use” . the reader should go forth with new positions about the importance of understanding one’s heritage. about the significance of a low beginning in life. and about the importance of being happy and content with who one is and what one has.

The importance of household heritage is something that many people have forgotten in today’s universe. For illustration. inquiring some people what the names are of their past relations. is like inquiring them how many stars are at that place in the sky. They merely do non cognize the reply. It seems as though the people of this coevals have non been taught how of import it is to be proud of the traditions of their ascendants. In the narrative. “Everyday Use” . Mama represents what her household history is all about and she is rather proud of who she is. It becomes apparent to the reader. that Mama is really household oriented. She describes her two girls. Maggie and Dee. with great item. Although they are sisters. the girls are really different types of people. Dee has an instruction and Maggie does non hold one. Dee’s instruction. every bit good as everything environing it. is what makes this narrative of import. with respects to household heritage. To understand this. one must recognize that Dee was ne’er happy life her life with Mama in a tally down. three sleeping room house. At least this is what Mama thinks. In the narrative. Mama states that she used to believe Dee hated their old house and that she hated Maggie as good.

However. Mama feels as though all of that alterations when she and the church raise money to direct Dee off to college. Before and even after Dee receives her instruction. she seems to be ashamed of Mama and Maggie and the relations before them. It is this facet of the narrative that compromises the importance of household heritage. This is evident when Dee reintroduces herself as Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo. “I could non bear it any longer being named after the people who oppressed me” ( Walker 491 ) . Dee’s feeling of subjugation suggests to the reader that she resents the household that raised her. At this point. she has become highly ethnocentric. in that she is go throughing judgement on her family’s civilization by comparing it with the criterions of her “new” civilization.

Dee’s gift of instruction causes an epiphany for her. However. she does non bury the importance of household heritage. Rather. her formal instruction causes her to see heritage in a really mercenary manner because she now looks at the objects of her family’s yesteryear as symbolic trophies. Dee does non desire these objects for their mundane usage and practicality. On the other manus. Mama and Maggie value these points for those grounds and therein lies another struggle in the narrative. In kernel. Mama. Dee. and Maggie all recognize the importance of household heritage. However. each position the construct otherwise and this is why they have jobs with each other.

In add-on to valuing one’s heritage. it is besides of import to be grateful or low with respects to the fortunes in which one’s life Begins. In other words. a individual should non take good luck for granted. because everyone in the universe starts life with nil. This is surely how things were for Maggie and Dee. However. their attitudes about life and their history are wholly different. Maggie seems to be apathetic about her milieus. Her attitude towards everything is really low. This is possibly due to the fact that she was burned really severely as a immature kid. in a house fire that destroyed the family’s old place. Her childhood artlessness is taken from her because she faces decease at such an early age. In fact. the experience physically weakens Maggie as a individual and the reader becomes more and more aware of this each clip Mama makes mention to her. “Have you of all time seen a feeble animate being sidle up to person?

This is the manner my Maggie walks. She has been like this. mentum on thorax. eyes on land. pess in shuffling. of all time since the fire that burned the other house to the ground” ( Walker 489 ) . Maggie demands nil from anyone because she feels lucky to be alive. Dee. on the other manus. “has ever held life in the thenar of one manus and thinks that no is a word the universe ne’er learned to state to her” ( Walker 488 ) . Again. Dee is so different from her female parent and sister. In the narrative. when Mama describes the daughters’ reaction to the fire. she states that Dee had a expression of concentration on her face. To the reader. this suggests that Dee was happy to see the crummy. old house disappear.

Many people. in the face of such catastrophe. would be given to be a small more low than Dee appears to be. In general. Dee seems to demo maliciousness and bitterness towards the fact that she had to get down her life in such hapless and unforgiving conditions. This attitude is a large portion of Dee’s autumn in this narrative. Maggie and Dee issue from artlessness early in their lives and it changes both of them in unambiguously negative ways. Maggie takes no facet of her beginning for granted. where as Dee holds everything about her beginning in disdain.

Finally. nil is more of import in life than being happy with oneself. This means esteeming one’s roots and being appreciative of the people and the things one has in his or her life. In “Everyday Use” . Mama represents these qualities the most. She makes no wrangles about the fact she has to work for her and Maggie’s endurance. She would hold life in no other manner and she is proud of this. The reader understands this fact more each clip Mama describes something. For illustration. although clay and sand make up Mama’s yard. to her it is the most pleasant clay and sand pace in the universe. when it is clean. Mama speaks proudly about the fact that she has to make men’s occupations. Harmonizing to her. these are what she was meant to make. At one point. Mama even states how she used to love milking the cattles because they were comforting animate beings. She does non care what people think about her. and because of this. she epitomizes what it means to be content with who one is. Some critics might reason that Mama is a stopping point minded individual who is non unfastened to alter.

The writer seems to propose that Mama is merely comfy with her life and sees no demand to alter. Once once more. Dee represents the alteration in the household. Before traveling off to school. Dee is really unhappy with holding nil of stuff worth. Mama says early on that Dee wanted merely nice things. This is non needfully a bad thing. though. Dee desiring nice things merely gives her the desire to travel and acquire her instruction. so she can do something of herself. However. as stated before. this mentality gives Dee no ground to detest her low beginning. In add-on. upon completion of her instruction. Dee is still unhappy with some things about her life. These things are her female parent and her sister and the conditions in which they live. Mama provinces. “she wrote me once that no affair where we choose to populate. she will pull off to come see us. But she will ne’er convey her friends” ( Walker 490 ) .

This statement represent Dee’s shame of her household. Even though Dee has accomplished a great undertaking with her instruction. she still feels as if something is losing in her life. When she visits Mama and Maggie. she begins to snarl polaroid images of Mama and of the house. but she does non state why. Dee besides wants to take certain points from the house so she can utilize them for ornaments. The images entirely suggest that she wants to take cogent evidence of her “hard” life back with her. Possibly the understanding she hopes to derive will give her satisfaction and fulfilment. Regardless of the ground. Dee’s unneeded demand for these things leads to the concluding struggle between herself and Mama. every bit good as her disconnected issue from the narrative. For Dee. the importance of being happy with oneself is non forgotten. It is misguided.

In decision. the importance of things such as heritage. unimportance. and felicity must non be forgotten. Alice Walker reminds readers of this in her narrative. “Everyday Use” . Walker gives readers insight into what things are like when household members lose sight of their values. Mama. Maggie. and Dee each have their ain sentiments about life and the manner life should be lived. This illustration is a good indicant of what happens when people mix life experience with formal instruction. The decision is chaos most of the clip. In this narrative. pandemonium comes with Mama’s battle to understand Dee’s desire for her new individuality.

It concludes when Mama comes to a certain realisation. “When I looked at Maggie like that something hit me in the top of my caput and ran down to the colloidal suspensions of my pess. Just like when I am in church and the spirit of God touches me and I get happy and shout” ( Walker 494 ) . For Mama and her girls. the consequence of this epiphany causes and stop to their pandemonium and a return to order. Dee exits at this point and leads readers to believe that she merely gives up on her household. After all. in her head. she is the better individual because she has the instruction. As for Mama and Maggie. they merely sit in the “yard” and dip snuff until it is clip for bed. happy with themselves and still proud of the household and the history they represent.


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