Everyday Use: Dee's Heritage On Display

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Everyday Use: Dee’s Heritage on Display For hundreds of years, African-American’s struggled for equality. They battled for freedom, equal rights, and social equality. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act replaced the derogatory word “Negro” with the word “Black.” This was a vital turning point for African-Americans to be able to take pride in their identity. In her short story, “Everyday Use”, Alice Walker tells a story of a family with deep roots in the South. Walker portrays one of the main characters, Dee, with a young woman who is comfortable with her skin color. In this story, Walker focuses on heritage and how each character views it. Dee, in this story, presents as a woman that comes off as arrogant, self-centered, and very materialistic.…show more content…
This can be taken as a way to adapt and shape to society’s standards in which you are accepted. As Walt Disney said: “Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards -the things we live by and teach our children- are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.” Therefore, heritage is a common ground in which each family member shares. But each person can view it in a different way. In this story, Dee moves away from her family in rural Georgia to the urban location of Augusta. This is where she attends college. We can assume during this time she is part of political movements. Therefore, Dee changing her name to Wangero, symbolizes the movement into accepting her African heritage. Dee’s mother questions her, “What happened to ‘Dee’?” (Walker 26). Walker justifies the pain and injustice that African-American’s endured by the response, “She’s dead,” Wangero said “I couldn’t bear it any longer being named after the people who oppress me” (Walker 27). By stating this, Dee demonstrates that she is moving forward past the hardship that her people have endured. Also, this reflects on the integration of the traditional African history into Black American culture. Dee has found a new appreciation for her

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