The Importance Of Culture And Heritage English Literature Essay

Culture and heritage are indispensable factors that make each people distinct and different from others. It gives humans a sense of integrity and belonging. In “ Everyday Use, ” Alice Walker stresses the importance of continuing heritage and provides the readers with a profound apprehension of a true, underlying value of heritage and tradition. “ Everyday Use ” reveals an challenging narrative of a strong, man-like Mama and her two distinguishable girls, Dee and Maggie. By contrasting the two girls in the narrative, Walker illustrates their at odds positions of heritage within a household. This struggle resolves in the storyteller, Mama ‘s epiphanic minute of acknowledgment through the rejection of her older girl ‘s superficial value of heritage in favour of the true, practical value presented by her younger girl.

The narrative begins with the storyteller, Mama, who describes herself as “ a big, big-boned adult females with unsmooth, man-working custodies ” ( 70 ) . Proud of transporting the loads of her two girls, she is capable of “ strike harding down a bull calf straight in the encephalon ” ( 70 ) . In fact, Mama grows up in a universe of favoritism as she mentions, “ After 2nd grade the school was near down. . . in 1927 colored asked fewer inquiries than they do now ” ( 71 ) . Despite her deficiency of instruction, Mama takes pride of who she is and what she does. In her head, she seems to understand the significance of heritage and the importance of cultural traditions. As the struggles arise between two girls have escalated to a point of flood tide in the narrative, she finally comes to a realisation that the existent definition of heritage prevarications within the grasp and mundane usage of it.

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Dee represents a misconception of heritage as she perceives it as a cosmetic and artistic reminder of the household ‘s history and beginning. In the beginning of the narrative, Dee is portrayed as a beautiful, knowing adult female. She is really confident and egoistic, where “ vacillation was no portion of her nature ” ( 70 ) . For Dee, she seems nescient about her yesteryear and the topographic point where she had grown up. Standing still under the “ sweet gum tree ” when the house is burned to the land makes Mama questioned the possibility of her ain girl ‘s hatred towards her household and house: “ Why do n’t you make a dance around the ashes? ” ( 71 ) . Clearly, Dee does non appreciate her household ‘s life style and cultural traditions. She is, in fact, ashamed and embarrassed of her household ‘s hapless economic conditions and the current “ no-real-window ” house they live in: “ [ S ] he will ne’er convey her friends ” ( 72 ) . Her action demonstrates a disjunction with her beginnings. In add-on, she insists to alter her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemarnjo, denoting that “ I could n’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me ” ( 73 ) . For Dee, she perceives the name every bit simply as a meaningless word alternatively of a symbol that exemplifies the household tradition and heritage.

Most significantly, Dee ‘s superficial thought of heritage can be farther sharpened by construing her attitudes toward the homemade furniture and comforters. Upon Dee ‘s reaching, she is shortly astonied and delighted in the ornament of the dining room, particularly the butter dish and dasher. Alternatively of utilizing them every twenty-four hours, she wishes to get them as cosmetic intent and “ utilize the churn top as a centrepiece for the bay tabular array ” ( 74 ) . Similarly, Dee urgently wants to take the hand-stitched comforters place, to expose them, and to hang them as “ if that was the lone thing you could make with the comforters ” ( 76 ) . Undoubtedly, Dee ‘s defines heritages non merely as something to set on show, but besides as objects used to show-off her beginning.

The immature girl, Maggie, on the other manus, is perceived as a character that appreciates and understands the practical value of heritage. Interestingly, she is first described by Mama as an insecure and anti-social miss. While enduring from the firing cicatrixs resulted from the house fire, she develops a strong sense of self-doubt. As a consequence, she frequently hides her organic structure behind the doors or her female parent, particularly with the presence of Dee or alien. Mama one time describes her position as “ a square animate being, possibly a Canis familiaris tally over by some careless individual rich plenty to have a auto ” ( 70 ) . Unlike Dee ‘s complete ignorance about the yesteryear, Maggie is profoundly affected by the tragic incident of losing the house. Ever since the fire, she has been like “ mentum on thorax, eyes on land, pess in shuffling ” ( 71 ) . Furthermore, Maggie does non have any formal instruction compared to her knowing sister. Despite the fact that she is non bright and educated, she seems to admit the significance of heritage and at the same clip appreciates her household values. She will “ get married John Thomas ( who has mossy dentitions in an sincere face ) ” ( 71 ) . In here, she chooses to populate a quiet, merely life and inherits the life manner and values of her parents.

In contrast to Dee ‘s superficial impression of hand-stitched comforters, Maggie interprets them in a deeper degree. For Maggie, the comforters represent the history of the base on balls coevals and the true heritage of household. Unlike Dee who insists that “ Maggie would set them on the bed and in five old ages they ‘d be in shred, ” she knows the existent and pattern value of the comforters ( 75 ) . They serve a simple and definite intent: to have on them and to utilize them every twenty-four hours. In add-on, Maggie knows “ how to quilt ” from her grandma ( 75 ) . Despite Mama ‘s promise of giving the comforters to Maggie, she offers the comforters to Dee: “ She can hold them, Mama. . . I can ‘member Grandma Dee without the comforters ” ( 76 ) . Alternatively of valuing heritage merely as an artistic ornaments, Maggie successfully embrace the true value behinds the comforter. It is the civilization and heritage embedded in the comforters are what is of import.

Ultimately, Mama ‘s epiphanic minute of recognizing a true value of heritage is revealed. By snaping the comforters out of Dee ‘s custodies and giving them to Maggie, she finally acknowledges the true construct and value of civilization and heritage: they are profoundly rooted in mundane usage. In today ‘s society, people utilize such construct of heritage to better understand their civilization values and individuality. Others misinterpret the value of heritage and happen ways to working it in order to fulfill their superficial demands. In “ Everyday Use ” , Alice teaches the readers a lesson on true heritage. The right perceptual experience of heritage is non depending on a individual ‘s visual aspect and instruction. Alternatively, it relies on the how each individual interprets and incorporates it into day-to-day lives.


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