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Culture And Traditions Alice Walkers Everyday Use British Literature Essay

Alice Walker conveys her excited feelings about protecting and valuing the African-American culture and history. In her short history, "Everyday Use, " Walker points out and expresses the extreme importance of culture and heritage. She utilizes the story of a mother, Mama, and her two daughters, Dee, also called Wangero, and Maggie, to explain how important culture and history are and the importance of upholding that importance. Within the 1860s, when the story takes place, is a time when some African-Americans become a part of groups, such as the black nationalists. The storyplot is told through the eye of Mama, who realizes how Dee, who becomes an associate of the dark-colored nationalists, and Maggie truly feel about their culture and history and the clear difference between their views. In "Everyday Use, " Alice Walker uses symbolism, persona development, and setting up to portray the value of respecting and retaining the significant value and true so this means of African-American culture and history.

In "Everyday Use, " Walker uses items in Mama's house that represent culture and history. Dee arrives at her mother's house and views the home as a symbol of her upbringing. The first items that Dee begins realizing are the benches. While admiring the benches, Dee says, "You could feel the rump images" (Walker 112). Walker intentionally wishes the reader to learn that the benches have been in home for a long time. Because of this truth, the benches stand for the individuals' recent. Another symbol that Walker uses is the butter churn and dash. When talking about these things, Walker writes, "there have been a great deal of small sinks; you might see where thumbs and fingertips had sunk in to the real wood" (112). She wishes to get the point across that there surely is history behind the butter dash. Walker remains on explaining the dash saying that it was manufactured from "beautiful light yellow wood, from a tree that grew in the garden where Big Dee and Stash experienced resided" (112). The details of the dash show the annals, and the actual fact that remembering the history indicates that Walker prices heritage. With both of these items, Walker gives the story behind them, which symbolizes her gratitude of knowing the history behind things. David Cowart says, "Walker is surely sympathetic to somebody who seems to recognize the need to maintain the often fragile artifacts of the DARK-COLORED recent" (24). In other words, the items, including the admiration of the benches, the butter churn, and dasher, are items which represent DARK-COLORED practices. Alice Walker feels a need to make clear the importance of respecting the African American culture and history and uses these every day items to symbolize that importance.

Along with the benches, the butter churn, and dasher, the quilts evidently symbolize African American culture and traditions. The quilts are the most significant sign that Walker uses in "Everyday Use. " When Dee brings the quilts out, Walker switches into comprehensive details about precisely what these quilts stand for. Walker says, "in both of [the quilts] were scraps of dresses Grandma Dee got worn fifty and much more years ago. Bits and pieces of Grandpa Jarrell's Paisley tee shirts. And one teeny faded blue piece, about the size of a cent matchbox, that was from Great Grandpa Ezra's uniform that he wore in the Civil Warfare" (113). The quilts symbolize the entire history of the family that goes back to the times of the Civil Conflict. They are really important with their culture, and not just represent days gone by, but also stand for the work with their family members. Maria Lauret agrees when she says that the quilts represent "the dark woman's custom of creative yet useful needlework" (110). In other words, the quilts are icons of DARK-COLORED traditions. Quilting is a custom that ladies would do to complete time, and eventually, the quilts are used and needed as a necessity to keep people warm in the wintertime. Even though some people, such as Dee, start to see the quilts as something that should be used as decor, Walker thinks the quilts are not for that purpose. "The quilt 'symbolizes' [Walker's] story, history, and traditions, binding women, and men, to the past and days gone by for this" (Whitsitt 443). In other words, Walker uses these quilts as symbols showing the gratitude and value of African American culture, including herself. Houston A. Baker, Jr. , and Charlotte Pierce-Baker concur when they say, "quilts, in their patched and many-colored glory offer not really a counter to custom, but, in fact, an instance of the only legitimate traditions of 'the people' that exists" (311). In other words, the quilts in "Everyday Use" are one of the only icons that represent customs during that time period. In "Everyday Use, " the quilts and the picture with the quilts are the most significant part in the storyplot, and Walker uses the quilts to portray the practices of African-American heritage.

Walker uses personality development showing the appreciation she's towards preserving and respecting the African American culture and heritage. From the three main individuals, Mama, shows the most change in personality. Mama starts off the story speaking about her daughters. She views Dee as the prettier and smarter child. She seems to think highly of Dee. She says, "[Maggie] considers her sister has placed life always in the hand of one side, that 'no' is a term the globe never learned to say to her" (Walker 109). Mama says this because she recognizes that Dee always gets everything she desires, and no-one ever denies her anything, including Mama. Mama is aware that Dee has eccentric ways and it is definitely not like her or Maggie, but she in some ways appears up to Dee and yearns for Dee to simply accept her. Tuten agrees by declaring, "Mama's distaste for Dee's egotism is tempered by her desire to be reputed by her girl" (125). Mama's personality changes during the quilt scene, as she realizes that Maggie stocks the gratitude of culture and traditions, and Dee's understanding is entirely not the same as theirs. Through the quilt landscape, Dee is pretty much demanding Mama to give her the quilts, and Mama says, "while i looked at her like this something hit me in the very best of my head and ran right down to the bottoms of my toes" (Walker 113). Quite simply, the truth strikes Mama like lightning. The truth is that the girl that she's always put on a pedestal is in reality the daughter that will not know or is aware of the true gratitude of DARK-COLORED culture. Tuten says the account is finally about "Mama's awakening to 1 daughter's superficiality and also to the other's deep-seated knowledge of heritage" (125). In "Everyday Use, " Walker uses Mama's change in how she views her daughters to help defend her point, which is the value of upholding the beliefs and traditions in the DARK-COLORED culture.

Although the personas of Dee and Maggie do not change during the present tense of the storyline, they do change in the beginning of the history. Walker uses this change of the character types to help get her point across about the value of heritage and the various views that individuals may have. Dee's views change when she goes away. Dee's obvious change is when she changes her name to Wangero, and her reasoning behind it is that "[she] couldn't endure [her name] any longer, being named after the people who oppress me" (Walker111). Because the beginning, Dee is different, but after she goes and joins a black nationalist group, her change in her gratitude for culture and traditions is evident. She views items from her upbringing as something that she would like to hold and screen in her home. She forgets the true meaning of the items. Cowart agrees by saying, "in her name, her clothes, her scalp, her sunglasses, her patronizing talk, and her dark-colored Muslim companion, Wangero proclaims a deplorable degree of alienation from her rural origins and family" (22). Walker uses Dee to show one view of traditions and uses Maggie showing the other view. Maggie, unlike Dee, prices her heritage. She knows the history of everything. In addition, Maggie also appreciates the history. Maggie does not have the looks or the brains like Dee, but she holds with her something more valuable, which is the admiration that she's for her culture and heritage and Mama realizes this of Maggie. When Dee says that Maggie use the quilts for "everyday use, " Mama knows she'll and says, "she can always make some more, Maggie recognizes how to quilt" (Walker 113). In other words, Mama recognizes that Maggie gets the knowledge and the heart and soul to transport the customs that she passes to her daughters. "Maggie is the arisen goddess of Walker's story; she is the sacred number who bears the scarifications of experience and recognizes how to convert areas into robustly patterned and attractively quilted wholes" (Baker and Pierce-Baker 314). Both character types, Dee and Maggie have changes throughout the story, and Walker uses their figure development showing her understanding of BLACK culture and history.

In "Day-to-day Use, " Walker utilizes the value of preparing to send the subject matter that it's essential to appreciate the value of culture and history. Walker takes enough time to get into extreme detail talking about the yard at the beginning of the storyplot. "A yard such as this is more comfortable than most people know. It is not just a garden. It is as an expanded living room" (Walker 108). The yard is something that is included with the house, and it is a place that the owners can congregate and hang out, even if it is just gazing in to the sunset. People who do not have money have a tendency to value the simple things in life, and these simple things eventually turn into a major part of their lives. Cowart says, "a paragon of meaningful simplicity, this yard" (25). Walker begins the story with the garden and ends the storyplot with the people outside on their yard. The backyard is important to the story because like the quilt the lawn is used to demonstrate the importance of traditions and "the social something produced out of little or nothing by people missing everything" (Cowart 24-5). Walker understands and ideals where she comes from, and she understands that folks, who are in poverty, take satisfaction in the little possessions they have, like a yard. In "Everyday Use, " Walker uses arranging to explain the worthiness of appreciating heritage and traditions of African Americans.

In finish, Alice Walker uses symbolism, figure development, and symbolism expressing her own thoughts of culture and heritage, which is the extreme importance of maintaining and respecting the strong value of family and customs. The icons of the benches, the butter churn, the dash, and the quilts help stand for the history of DARK-COLORED traditions. The character development of Mama, Dee, and Maggie help show different factors of views that one can have about traditions, and Mama's ultimate eyesight opener of discovering which girl values the same things as her just as. The change in Mama allows her to endure a daughter in a manner that she's before. The setting of the yard aids in telling the story behind the culture and traditions. Walker defends her position on the extreme need for upholding and respecting the worthiness of African American culture and heritage.

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