Thursday, March 7, 2019
Everyday Use by Alice Walker
In the early 1970s, the Black Power movement was non only a political slogan against racism, but also an political orientation that promoted racial experience and embraced the elements of the Afri depose nicety. During this time, many Afro-Ameri tricks were encouraged to grow their hairs into afros, carry traditional African clothing, and reject their white slave wee-wees. In the novel Everyday aim, Alice Walker presents a family with opposing views towards tradition and creates a char goer fooled by the Black Power movement.The author uses irony to reveal a meaning of heritage hidden under the perceived idea of Afro-American identity. From the graduation exercise, the sr.est daughter, Dee, pretends to honor and embrace her roots, yet she rejects her past and her ancestors. When she comes home to visit mamma and her sister Maggie, she wears an extravagant yellow dress, gold earrings, and dangling bracelets. She uses the African greet Wa-su-zo-Tean-o and begs not be ca lled Dee, but Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo, since she does not want to be named afterwards the people who oppressed her (Schmidt 350).Dee c citees her name to reconnect with, what she believes is, her African heritage. However, this turns to be ironic because she was named after her aunt Dicie, who was named after granny knot Dee, and by changing her name, Wangero is evading the important aspects of her name and the traditions of her family. Although Wangero is very educated, she lacks the most valuable cognition. Through come to the fore the spirit level, she portrays an arrogant attitude of favorable position towards mammy and Maggie. momma says, she used to read to us without pity forcing battle crys, lies, separate folks habits, whole lives upon us, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice. She washed us in a river of make-believe, burned us with a lot of experience we didnt necessarily need to know (Schmidt 348). mommy does not feel pride for her daughters accomp lishments instead, she feels intimidated by Dees egocentrism. The irony comes when Wangero believes her knowledge puts her supra her family, yet mammys knowledge has a greater value. Mama is a large, big-boned woman with rough, man- working(a) hands (Schmidt 347).She is proud of her hard work and ability to blooper bull calves and milk cows after all, she learned this from her mother, who learned it from her mother. This is the soft of knowledge the author wants the reader to see and assessthe type of knowledge that conveys African-American tradition. Even though Wangero finds in a toil and fliter her African-American identity, she is blind to the significance of these items. Dee values the churn and dasher because they atomic number 18 old, and her uncle whittled them back in the day.She says she can use the churn top as a centrepiece for the alcove table, and shell think of something artistic to do with the dasher (Schmidt 351). With this attitude, Wangero expresses her v iew towards the items as abominable antique collectibles. Maggie, on the other hand, explains that Aunt Dees first husband whittled the dash His name was Henry, but they called him Stash (Schmidt 351). The feature that she knows the story behind the churn and dasher illustrates her deep appreciation towards the items.Likewise, when Mama holds the dasher, she reflects on its origin and its meaning to the family You didnt regular(a) need to look close to see where hands pushing the dasher up and elaborate to make butter had left a kind of lapse in the wood. In purget, there where a lot of small sinks (Schmidt 351). The sinks in the wood represent the hard labor her family endured and the tenacious efforts Dee would, ironically, never sluice acknowledge. Wangero also finds a connection to her African culture with Mamas quilts however, she does not catch the traditional value of these items.Dee wants to accompaniment the quilts to show off her heritage and hang them on her wa ll as decorations she thinks her sister will not appreciate them and will put them to chance(a) use. Maggie agrees to give up her promised quilts because after all, she can member Grandma Dee without the quilts (Schmidt 352). However, Mama will not let Dee keep them because deep inside, she knows that Maggie deserves them. Maggie learned how to quilt from aunt Dee, who learned how to quilt from Grandma Dee accordingly, she will be able to keep their culture and their history alive. after(prenominal) this decision, Wangero responds furiously, You just dont understand your heritage (Schmidt 323), and suggests that the quilts have a materialistic a value that has to be go ond in order to maintain the familys African heritage. Ironically, the quilts are not valuable because they are old and their ancestors sewed them instead, they are priceless because they represent a tradition that many hard working swarthy women followed for years. The author suggests that Maggie has an understa nding her sister never will she understands the veritable meaning of African heritage.Wangero was one of the many African-Americans in the 1970s who struggled to specialise their identity within the framework of American society. She changed her name and her appearance in efforts to embrace her African roots and tried to collect antique items to preserve her familys heritage. However, Dees arrogant attitude blinded her from seeing the traditional value of the African culture, and left her with a superficial understanding about her heritage. Alice Walker uses Wangeros and Mamas conflict ideologies to suggest that the substance of an object is more valuable than its style.Everyday practice session by Alice WalkerIn 1972, Alice Walker published Everyday Use in a collection of short stories In Love and turn over Stories of Black women. As better known Everyday Use stood out of the collection, it has become one of few short stories about the conflict black Americans plaqued after t he Civil Rights Movement The struggle to maintain traditions, whilst encompass new-found freedom, and where the two worlds collided. Discussing the reoccurring themes, symbols and themes through the narrators perception, and actions will reveal if the character, and ultimately the reader himself has grown or remained static in affect of the conflict.As stated above, once the Civil Rights movement ended and black Americans receive the rights equal to a white American, a conflict betwixt the old world and the new world collided. The assimilation of black Americans into the American way of life of life, the struggle to uphold traditions, and the quest to return to original African culture is a theme in Everyday Use. The narrators, Mama, perception of the world is small, in contrast to her daughters, Dee. When Dee returns, she has movemented to re-forge her African based culture and dismiss her history and The people who oppress me (Walker 454).She arrives bejeweled in gold, flau nting a flashy yellow African style dress, alongside her simulated boyfriend Asalamalikim. The ignorance of Mama of this being a term in Arabic meaning Peace be upon you (Anthology 454), which instead she mistakes as his name, displays the differentiation between Mama and Dees exposure to the world. The way in which she chose to fashion herself exudes the fact that she has no real understanding of African culture, and she is in favor of the American simulated construction of African culture.The quilts become a symbol of the collaborationism of their family histories into tangible evidence in Everyday Use, when Dee returns to the house for quilts and the shape dasher, proposing to hang them up for display. This upsets the Narrator, Mama, she makes reference to Maggie being able to put them to everyday use, and she can always quilt more while Dee adamantly protests. Mama makes a move to recover the quilts and Dee pulls them away and Mama thinks to herself They already belonged to h er (Walker 456).In Mamas perspective, the point of the quilts was the tradition of quilting, not the quilts themselves. She views Dee as someone to wants to act out the movements of appreciation of their culture, instead of passing it on. In the act of retrieving the quilts from Dees grip, and returning them to Maggie, Mama reveals herself as an unknowing, dilate character that can re-act differently than what is expected of her. Mama stands up for the undecomposed traditions in the face of her daughter, although her daughter believes herself to be the all knowing one.As well as the theme of old black world verses new, we come across the motif of names and re-naming within the short story. Just as Dee comes home refined in African styled clothing, she re-names herself Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo to represent her full transformation into a true African woman. Her boyfriends name Hakim. a. barber also hints to the fact that he also took up the Muslim faith in an attempt of reform. Mama makes an effort to educate Dee on her name how it was passed through generations and holds value in itself.Dee dismisses this fact, and it reveals Dees ignorance of the lineage of strong women she was born from. Dee and Hakim try to treat or dissolve their actual history with the history that is more in favor with current society and hold no value in their true identities. In this instance, Dee can be portrayed as the speech rhythm character, ever changing to fit her surroundings while Mama and Maggie, the spring who does not reveal their name, and the latter who has a normal name, can be portrayed as the forthwith characters.However, this can be contradicted. In the beginning of the story, Mamas perception of Dee is somewhat tainted by her personal differences from Dee. The fact that Mama was not able to complete her breeding completely, while still providing an knowledge for her daughter served as a wedge in between the two. Dee looked down upon mama for her lack of edu cation, and Mama felt victimized by Dees overwhelming need to prove her higher intellect. For example, Dees greeting Wa-su-zo-Tean-o (Walker 454), a term which her mother and Maggie she knew could not understand. In result, she always assumed Dees word to be true and unworthy of contradiction. However, in the end of the story, Mama realizes that even though Dee might have a higher education and therefore exposure to the world, she still did not learn the value of the her true heritage. Something that cannot be learned through school work, and cannot be appreciated through study, was the legacy of her ancestors, something Dee adamantly dismissed as irrelevant.Mama then becomes a round character, than can overcome the overshadow of her daughter and prove that all the education in the world cannot help keep culture alive, and only family as well as true traditions can have that effect. In irony, Dee states that it is Mama that knows nothing of their heritage, when it is in fact Dee wh o has lost all sense of their honest history. We can now conclude that the Narrator, Mama is an unknowing character by her reactions to the antagonist Dee, Mamas actions were made based off her previous as well as current encounters with Dee.She is in a sense a round character that overcomes her impertinent daughters condemnation of the word No, and sticks to old traditions. While also, Mama is a flat character, withstanding the exposure to Dees education to begin and end the short story in her yard, where she finds peace and control over her environment. Everyday Use did an pure job in portraying the collision of black American freedom, and the impost of those that lived before the days of civil rights.