Racism and Discrimination in Country Lovers and Everyday Use

Essay by onlinezeroHigh School, 11th grade January 2009

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Both short stories “Country Lovers” and “Everyday Use” highlight the importance of cultural society in the stories. In the stories blacks are discriminated by the society. The purpose of this essay is to show how the writers have highlighted the importance of culture and society in their stories considering segregation, poverty as well as the role of women.

During the time of the short story “Everyday Use” there was “Black Power” or “Black Nationalism”, and many blacks wanted to “rediscover” their African roots, and were ready to reject and deny their American heritage, which was filled with stories of pain and injustice. In “Everyday Use”, Alice Walker argues that an African-American is both African and American, and to deny the American side of one’s heritage is disrespectful of one’s ancestors. She uses the principal characters of Mama, Dee, and Maggie to clarify this theme.

Country lovers, is a tale set in South Africa where whites are more privileged than black people. The story is set during apartheid. This is made clear in the first paragraph, as it says "but once the white children go away to school, they don't play together anymore." Also, "beginning to call their old play mates missus and baasie - little master." It is made clear that separation occurs at an early age, this is reinforced throughout the story. As it states later, whilst discussing how Thebedi's father works on Paulus's family's farm "it was part of her father’s work to tend." It also mentions that Paulus' family owns a Mercedes. Also during the trial it was almost impossible for Paulus to lose the case as he was white. The majority of the people also believed that he was innocent.

In the story “Everyday Use” Mama...