"Everyday Use" and "A Pair of Tickets"

Essay by geoffreykun January 2005

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"Everyday Use" and "A Pair of Tickets"

In "Everyday Use," Alice Walker writes about a black mother and her two daughters, Maggie and Dee. Both the mother and Maggie are traditional characters, who are proud of their black heritage. However, Dee is the opposite of her mother and sister. She has false thoughts of her heritage. In "A Pair of Tickets," the author, Amy Tan, describes Jing Mei's change in her view of her Chinese heritage during her travel to China. Although both of the authors write about the differences between genuine heritage and false ideas of heritage, Alice Walker conveys the differences characters by mainly describing what the three main characters do, say and think, while Amy Tan handles this material by mostly portraying what Jing Mei sees, hears and thinks.

First of all, how the mother, the narrator of "Everyday Use," and Maggie behave are not only genuine heritages, but also the opposite of Dee's false idea of heritage.

The mother is a large and big-boned woman, who can do the jobs that men do, such as milking cows. Her appearance shows a part of her genuine heritage of being a black person, and she works very hard in order to serve her children and family. This is how the mother cherishes her heritage. Although she knows that Dee wants her to lose some weight, have lighter skin and hair, and a quicker tongue, she still loves her black heritage and her appearance. She will not change it in order to please Dee or any other person. Another example of the mother's pride in her heritage occurs at the beginning of the story, where the narrator describes her yard as a comfortable and beautiful place, even though the yard may be just...