A Contrast between Dee and Maggie’s View Concerning Their Heritage In my composing essay I shall examine the way in which heritage can be developed in Alice Walker’s unique Everyday Usage, trying to mention the author’s main ideas concerning the theme of the story. I would also try to explain the two daughter’s points of view, Dee and Maggie’s, about their ancestral heritage. The contrast in between these two daughters is more than obvious not just in their appearance but also in their behavior when it pertains to quilts from their grandma.
Everyday Use is a story narrated by a rural black woman, who is the mother of the 2 girls Maggie and Dee Johnson. Mrs. Johnson, is an easy lady but who, in spite of all difficulties that she travelled through, she attempted to offer her daughters if possible, a good education and naturally the most important thing, to make them familiar with what heritage is indeed, the truth that conventional culture and heritage is not represented just by the possession of old objects, however also by one’s behavior and customizeds.
She details in the story that she is not an extremely informed female, but this does not suggest that the lack of education is likewise shown in her capacity to comprehend, to enjoy and to appreciate her ancestors. Because the start of the story, the narrator makes apparent the contrast between Maggie and her senior sibling Dee. Dee is an extremely ambitious girl, with a distinct character, the one who had always succeeded and enthusiastic. Maggie believes “her sister has actually held life, always in the palm of one hand, that “no” is a word the world never ever learned to say to her. (Walker 2469). Dee rejects her real heritage by changing her offered name, after her aunt Dee, to the ostensibly more excellent one Wangero Leewanik Kemanjo, arguing to her mom that “Dee is dead and I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after individuals who oppress me” (Walker 2472), what she does in reality is to decline her family identity. She influences in her mother “a sort of awe and fear more suitable to the development of a goddess than the love one might expect a mom to feel for a returning child” (Farell, “Flight”).
On the other hand, Maggie is the kind of easy woman, like her mother, with little education. She is not ambitious like her sister Dee, living in some way in her mom’s shadow. However this may be likewise since Maggie had not her sis luck and she burned severely in your house fire when she was a kid, ending up being now a shy and afraid individual. These functions are more noticeable in her attitude while awaiting her sis to come house. Mom is projecting her own anger and frustration onto her more youthful child when she speculates that Maggie will be cowed by Dee’s arrival. Maggie will be nervous till after her sis goes: she will stand hopelessly in corners homely and embarrassed of the burn scars down her limbs, considering her sis with a mix of envy and wonder” (Walker 2469). As Marianne Hirsch states in one of her critical essays: “the mother sees in Maggie’s angerless, fear a picture of her own passive approval of Dee’s hostility, her own suppressed anger” Furthermore, we can see through the lines of this story that, at the beginning, Dee was the child that mom chose most because of her authority and because she wanted to be successful in life by following her impulses.
But when she saw her completely changed, not only physically but likewise in her mindset, mom realized that Maggie was the one that understood the meaning of “heritage” and tried to offer her justice. It is relevant “Mother’s awakening to one’s daughter’s superficiality and to the other’s deep-seated understanding of heritage” (Tuten, “Alice Walker’s Everyday Use” ). However, Dee seems to abhor her sis, her mom and the church that assisted to inform her. Deliberately or not, she is selfish and she treats her sibling with indifference.
While Dee left from the poor life she was supposed to live, Maggie, next to her mom, represents the wide variety of black women who must suffer. Scarred, graceless, not bright and uneducated, “Maggie is a living reproach to a survivor like her sister” (Cowart, “Heritage”). The contradictions about heritage and culture in between Maggie and Dee end up being more comprehensive when the quilts participate from the story. After dinner, Dee finds some old quilts which belonged to her grandma.
She is very delighted that discovered them, thinking that these quilts represent the testament of her forefathers. Without taking into account Maggie’s viewpoint, she asks her mom if she can have those quilts, arguing that she is the only one who can value and can keep them. At first, mom is reluctant to offer her a response and offers her other quilts however Dee gets upset and after that mother discusses to her that the quilts were from Maggie as a wedding event gift. Maggie’s tolerance in the story contrasts with Dee’s boldness.
When Dee insists that her sis would mess up grandmother’s quilts by using them everyday, and that hanging the quilts would be the only method to preserve them, Maggie” like someone utilized to never ever wining anything, or having anything reserved for her” states” She can have them, Mother. I can remember Grandmother Dee without the quilts” (Walker, 2474). Mrs. Johnson then recognizes what makes Maggie different kind her sis. She sees her scarred hands concealed in her skirt and states: “When I took a look at her like that something struck me in the top of my head and ran down to the soles of my feet.
Similar to when I’m in the church and the spirit of God touches me and I get pleased and shout” (Walker, 2475). This powerful sensations figures out Mother to do something she had never done prior to: “she took the quilts out of Miss Wangero’s hands and discarded them into Maggie’s lap” (Walker, 2475). Mom’s behavior here is practically like Dee’s since she rebuffs her long for the very first time and offer justice to the most patient Maggie. The fact that she takes the quilts from Dee and gives them to Maggie, “she verifies her younger daughter’s self-regard: metaphorically, she offers Maggie her voice” (Tuten, “Alice Walker’s Everyday Use” ).
In conclusion, I can state that Everyday Use is a story about comprehending heritage. This idea is very well exposed by the 2 characters Alice Walker produced, Dee and Maggie. These 2 daughters have a totally different view in what worries the heritage from their ancestors; in this case their origins and their inheritance, the quilts from Grandma Dee. Maggie is the one who understands that heritage is about respecting family’s customs and customizeds while Dee ruins the conventional image kept by Mrs.
Johnson and her sibling. She rejects her real origins by changing the given name into more fashionable one, Wangero Leewanik Kemanjo. One should value his legacy due to the fact that it represents indeed what we are. We can not hide our roots and even if we desire, this would not be possible because it constantly remains present in our souls and our minds, we like it or not. WORKES MENTIONED PRIMARY SOURCE: Walker, Alice. Everyday Use. In Love and Problem: Stories of Black Women New York City: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973.
SECONDARY SOURCE: Cowart, David. “Heritage and deracination in Walker’s “Everyday Usage.” Research Studies in Short Fiction. FindArticles. com. Farrell Susan. “Battle vs. Flight: a re-evaluation of Dee in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use”- Important Essay”. Studies in Short Fiction. FindArticles. com. Hirsch, Marianne. “Clytemnestra’s Kid: Writing the Mother’s Anger.” Alice Walker: Modern Critical Views. Ed. Harold Blossom. New York: Chelsea Home, 1989. Tuten, Nancy. “Alice Walker’s Everyday Use.” The Explicator 51. 2,1993