The Thematic Character of Everyday Use by Alice Walker

Many times after an individual reads a piece of literature, she or he will form opinions about the inspirations of the characters, the results of the setting, the overall theme or underlying message being communicated, and the other elements that helped to shape the whole story. After pondering about their particular beliefs about a work, people will discover their concepts to be various from others since each of them views details of the tale in a varying way. For this reason, it was not unexpected that much of my classmates and I had contrasting opinions about the primary themes present in Alice Walker”s “Everyday Usage (For Your Grandmama).

Many members of the class highly felt that the story”s main style lied in the differing worths of each the characters. They utilized textual evidence to prove that Dee”s views on particular problems were so unlike those of her mother and Maggie”s that they in fact developed a barrier between Dee and her household. Others felt that the setting and the type/amount of education affected the motives of each of the characters. These individuals described the fact that Dee had the chance to obtain a correct education and that Mama and Maggie did not.

The rural setting acted as a means to enhance their views because it showed that the majority of people needed to work instead of getting an education. In comparison with these viewpoints pointed out, I took a much various technique to interpreting the primary style of this story. I truly believed that “Everyday Use” had to do with the ways in which Dee”s personality impacted herself and her family. Utilizing this generalized concept, I established a more accurate style for this work. Each of us is raised within a culture, a set of customs handed down by those prior to us.

As people, we see and experience common heritage in discreetly differing ways. Within many smaller neighborhoods and households, deeply felt traditions serve to enhance this common heritage. Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” explores how, in her eagerness to declare an ancient heritage, Dee rejects herself the substantive personal experience of familial customs in such incidents as the reason of her name change, her remarks throughout the meal with the household, and her requesting Mother for the quilts.

Upon arriving at her mother”s brand-new house for the first time, Dee surprises her mom and Maggie with her look and her evident name change. Dee rapidly informs her mother that she has actually made her new name “Wangero” to reflect her African heritage. She no longer will be called after the people who oppress her. This referral can be credited to Dee”s possible experiences as a civil liberties activist. Amongst the black community lots of people embrace African names to reflect their pre-slavery heritage. While this can be a source of strength and affirmation for some, it may represent a rejection of one’s previous, as it obviously provides for Dee.

Even her mom”s response that she was named ‘Dee’ after her auntie, who was named for the aunt’s mother, “though I probably might have brought it back beyond the Civil War through the branches,” does not have any true result on her perception of her provided name (32 ). Dee still feels that being called “Wangero” will give her cultural satisfaction, whereas her real name holds her back from obtaining this. She fails to acknowledge that her mother”s words in fact show how the family is proud to pass the name ‘Dee” along generations to assist protect their own customs.

Dee does not feel the pride that is associated with her genuine name due to the fact that she possesses a certain prejudice versus her family that will not permit her to welcome her own private heritage. This prejudice is rooted in her beliefs that her mom and Maggie are incapable of relating her views due to their illiteracy and their unwillingness to accept originalities. Evaluating from Dee”s viewpoints about her name, readers can plainly see that she has misconceptions about her living heritage that prevent her from feeling the pleasure of continuing a family name.

Against Dee’s claim to her African roots is the thread of custom in her own family. Not just has Dee accomplished an education rejected her mother, she has actually declined her offered name, and she sees self-created significance in the food and things present at the meal. Dee” [goes] on through the chitlins and corn bread,”” [talks] a blue streak over the sweet potatoes,” and” [completely] delights herself [with] whatever” (45 ). Dee discovers this meal to be a sort of novelty that she can only value effectively due to the fact that she is now in the correct environments to do so.

Her typically more sophisticated diet plan leaves her room to delight in such a basic meal and its reflection of her African roots, not her rural household culture. She admits to Mom to disliking as a child the benches on which they are sitting, made by her daddy. Dee can “feel the rump prints” (46 ). Yet, when next Dee exclaims to her mom that she wants the butter churn which was whittled out of a tree by her uncle, and that she will use it as a focal point for one of her tables, readers suspect her gratitude for the benches and the churn is actually as simple artifacts.

Dee then turns her attention to the dasher utilized with the churn. She ensures everybody that she will “‘think about something artistic to do with the dasher'” (53 ). When the shy Maggie notifies them her uncle Henry made the dash, which they used to call him Stash, Dee exclaims, “‘Maggie’s brain is like an elephant’s’,” suggesting that Maggie’s knowledge is feral, that she can’t assist but hold on to truths which are unimportant (53 ). Real, human details, such as the name of the guy who made the dasher, are not pertinent to Dee.

She feels the craftsmanship in the dasher represents great quality art that should be displayed appropriately to mirror her appreciation of her roots. Dee sees the object as a thing of appeal, however not as a part of her very individual culture, an energy showing the effort and decision of those who as soon as utilized it. In turn, she is alienating herself from her individual recognition of family”s past through her superficial recognition of the dasher”s value. Dee”s family knows that “hesitation [is] no part of [Dee’s] nature,” which she is figured out to accomplish what she desires (6 ).

In the bed room, rifling through her mom’s mementos, Dee finds her grandma”s quilts, and attempts to lay claim to them. The quilts are made from old dresses and cloths, some handed down from a number of previous generations. When Dee asks her mother if she can have them, we pick up a turning point is reached. Considering that Dee currently declined them once previously, Mother responds to Dee”s demand by specifying that the quilts have been promised to Maggie.

Dee argues that her mother and Maggie can not appropriately appreciate the quilts, that the quilts ought to be shown. ‘Maggie … [would] most likely be backward enough to put them to everyday usage'” (66 ). Dee”s declare to the quilts and her plans to utilize them as decorations reveal her outside perception of family heirlooms to be mere things of screen, not cherished products that help people remember their enjoyed ones and make them value the effort took into them. Dee”s adopted worths cloud her mind and ideas, making her naive to the stability and genuine nature of her culture.

Her mom”s refusal to give this one favor does not even produce any sense of misgivings on her part. Her conceit and her adherence to her misguided beliefs make her unable to see the true worth of the quilts and their importance to her household”s traditions. Dee”s notions about the quilts prevent her from experiencing the joy associated with displaying one”s own familial culture to the remainder of the world. Our heritage threads through history past the people who contributed to it, to impact us on an individual level.

To be fully valued and declared, it must reside in the heart. Dee comprehends the heritage of people she doesn’t know. In this method, her embraced heritage can be comprehended intellectually, but it is not felt, not individual, and not truly her own. Her rejection of her household”s culture in the rural society will not enable to ever have feelings of personal pride about her true roots. In turn, Dee can never ever truly discover happiness in most aspects worrying her immediate household, making it difficult for her to have a caring relationship with any of them.