Tuesday, May 21, 2019
The Thematic Character of Everyday Use by Alice Walker
Often times after a person reads a piece of literature, he or she lead form opinions or so the motivations of the characters, the effects of the setting, the overall theme or underlying message being conveyed, and the other elements that helped to shape the whole story. After contemplating most their particular beliefs about a work, individuals will find their ideas to be different from others because each of them perceives details of the tale in a varying manner. For this reason, it was not surprising that galore(postnominal) of my classmates and I had irrelevant opinions about the main themes present in Alice Walkers Everyday Use (For Your Grandmama).Numerous members of the class strongly felt that the storys important theme lied in the differing values of each the characters. They used textual evidence to prove that Dees views on certain issues were so unlike those of her puzzle and Maggies that they actually created a barrier between Dee and her family. Others felt that th e setting and the type/amount of education influenced the motives of each of the characters. These people referred to the fact that Dee had the opportunity to scram a proper education and that mommy and Maggie did not.The rural setting served as a means to enhance their views because it showed that most people had to work instead of receiving an education. In comparison with these viewpoints mentioned, I took a much different approach to interpreting the principal theme of this story. I rightfully believed that Everyday Use was about the slipway in which Dees personality affected herself and her family. Using this generalized notion, I developed a more precise theme for this work. Each of us is embossed within a culture, a set of traditions handed down by those before us.As individuals, we view and experience common heritage in subtly differing ways. Within m any smaller communities and families, deeply felt traditions serve to enrich this common heritage. Alice Walkers Everyda y Use explores how, in her eagerness to claim an ancient heritage, Dee denies herself the real personal experience of familial traditions in much(prenominal) incidents as the justification of her name change, her comments during the meal with the family, and her requesting Mama for the quilts.Upon arriving at her poses new firm for the first time, Dee surprises her mother and Maggie with her appearance and her apparent name change. Dee quickly informs her mother that she has made her new name Wangero to reflect her Afri give the axe heritage. She no longer will be named after the people who oppress her. This reference can be attributed to Dees possible experiences as a civil rights activist. Among the black community many people adopt African names to reflect their pre-slavery heritage. While this can be a source of strength and affirmation for nigh, it may represent a rejection of ones past, as it apparently does for Dee.Even her mothers response that she was named Dee after h er aunt, who was named for the aunts mother, though I probably could have carried it back beyond the Civil struggle through the branches, does not have any true effect on her perception of her given name (32). Dee still feels that being called Wangero will give her heathenish fulfillment, whereas her real name holds her back from attaining this. She fails to recognize that her mothers words actually show how the family is proud to pass the name Dee along generations to help stay on their own traditions.Dee does not feel the pride that is associated with her real name because she possesses a certain prejudice against her family that will not allow her to embrace her own individual(a) heritage. This prejudice is rooted in her beliefs that her mother and Maggie are incapable of relating her views due to their lack of education and their unwillingness to accept new ideas. Judging from Dees opinions about her name, readers can clearly see that she has misunderstandings about her liv ing heritage that prevent her from feeling the joy of carrying on a family name.Against Dees claim to her African roots is the locomote of tradition in her own family. Not only has Dee achieved an education denied her mother, she has rejected her given name, and she sees self-created symbolism in the food and objects present at the meal. Dee goes on through the chitlins and corn bread, talks a blue streak over the sweet potatoes, and thoroughly delights herself with everything (45). Dee finds this meal to be a sort of novelty that she can only jimmy properly because she is now in the proper surroundings to do so.Her usually more sophisticated diet leaves her room to relish such a truthful meal and its reflection of her African roots, not her rural family culture. She admits to Mama to not appreciating as a child the benches on which they are sitting, made by her father. Dee can feel the rump prints (46). Yet, when next Dee exclaims to her mother that she wants the butter churn wh ich was whittled out of a tree by her uncle, and that she will use it as a centerpiece for one of her tables, readers suspect her appreciation for the benches and the churn is really as mere artifacts.Dee then turns her attention to the dasher used with the churn. She assures everyone that she will think of something artistic to do with the dasher (53). When the faint-hearted Maggie informs them her uncle Henry made the dash, and that they used to call him Stash, Dee exclaims, Maggies brain is like an elephants, implying that Maggies knowledge is feral, that she cant help but hold on to facts which are irrelevant (53). Real, human details, such as the name of the man who made the dasher, are not relevant to Dee.She feels the workmanship in the dasher represents good quality art that should be displayed accordingly to reflect her appreciation of her roots. Dee sees the object as a thing of beauty, but not as a part of her very personal culture, a utility reflecting the struggle an d determination of those who once used it. In turn, she is alienating herself from her personal identification of familys past through her superficial recognition of the dashers value. Dees family knows that doubt is no part of Dees nature, and that she is determined to achieve what she desires (6).In the bedroom, rifling through her mothers keepsakes, Dee finds her grandmas quilts, and tries to lay claim to them. The quilts are made of old dresses and cloths, some handed down from several prior generations. When Dee asks her mother if she can have them, we sense a turning point is reached. Since Dee already rejected them once before, Mama responds to Dees request by stating that the quilts have been promised to Maggie.Dee argues that her mother and Maggie cannot properly appreciate the quilts, that the quilts should be displayed. Maggie would probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use (66). Dees claim to the quilts and her plans to use them as decorations show her out ward perception of family heirlooms to be mere objects of display, not treasured items that help people remember their loved ones and cultivate them appreciate the hard work put into them. Dees adopted values cloud her mind and thoughts, making her naive to the integrity and genuine nature of her culture.Her mothers refusal to grant this one favor does not even create any sense of misgivings on her part. Her arrogance and her adherence to her misguided beliefs make her otiose to see the true worth of the quilts and their importance to her familys traditions. Dees notions about the quilts thwart her from experiencing the happiness associated with displaying ones own familial culture to the stick around of the world. Our heritage threads through history past the people who contributed to it, to affect us on a personal level.To be fully appreciated and claimed, it mustiness reside in the heart. Dee understands the heritage of people she doesnt know. In this way, her adopted heritag e can be understood intellectually, but it is not felt, not personal, and not truly her own. Her rejection of her familys culture in the rural society will not allow to ever have feelings of personal pride about her true roots. In turn, Dee can never really find happiness in most aspects concerning her immediate family, making it hard for her to have a loving relationship with any of them.