Everyday USe

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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SUMMARY In the essay Everyday Use by Alice Walker, Walker depicts the misuse of the idea of what heritage means to different generations, from modern day to back in the day. In the beginning of the essay, Walker describes the narrator, Mama, as a burly woman with manly characteristics. Whether it was breaking ice to get water for washing, or knocked a bull out between the eyes with a sledgehammer and had the meat hung up and chilled for the next day, she was there for her children. Her younger daughter, Maggie is slightly abnormal, due to many scalds and vivid pains brought to her by a fire occurring inside their house years back. And then there is Dee, the so-called perfect child, intelligent, beautiful, and oldest of the two. The family raises enough money to set Dee off for school away from home.

The story starts when Dee comes home with her friend to visit her family and to visit the place where she grew up, or where her "heritage" was.

When she steps out of the car, Maggie and Mama notice a distinct difference in her appearance than when she lived at home. She was brightly dressed, and wore her dangly earrings and clingy bracelets that were somewhat distracting to them. Once out of the car, Dee Grabs her Polaroid and snaps several pictures, all including snaps of the house in every picture, to show the true heritage to her friends back at school. Another striking idea that confused Mama, was Dee's idea to change her name to Wangero. Reasoning for the name change is because she was tired of being named after the people who oppress her. Adding on to the confusion was Wangero's requests to bring back certain items that show her heritage. She asked...