The Betrayal Of Heritage Analysis

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The Betrayal of Heritage

Alice Walker was born in Eatonton, Georgia on February 9th 1944. On her journey to success she worked as a social worker, teacher and thereafter she became a lecturer. She was also part and parcel of the Civil Right Movement in Mississippi during the 1960’s. Apart from being a reputable poet and writer, Walker also won herself a Pulitzer award for fiction on account of her 1982 novel “The Color Purple”. “Everyday use” is a short story found in Walker’s (1973) collection “In love and in Trouble”. The short story reflects on the life of African Americans who are living against their cultural norms and it also gives us reasons that explain why this situation exists in the African American society.
Through trying to evade
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“Dee” does not share in the recognition and reverence of their culture even though her mother does. She describes this type of culture as a fragile heritage and she points out the aspect of clothing and design as a reason. She considers the dress code by her grandfather and mother an outdated mode of living. Dee wants to go by the current standards of life and she cannot have a second thought about this. Being an African American she comes out strongly to condemn the oppression that the blacks underwent in the hands of the whites. She makes this factor a pillar for her argument saying that she cannot be identified with a name that originates from people who oppressed them and still oppress them. In other words, Dee is speaking from a vengeance point of view, “I couldn’t bare it any longer, being named after people who oppress me” (Everyday use p.53) and via this she now helps us to understand the reason as to why she dropped her original name and took another. This step seems satisfactory for her but in real sense it is betrayal to her own heritage, we can say that she is fighting a lost battle. Walker (1973) gives Dee a character that is full of ignorance and arrogance and by doing so she is able to achieve the theme of betrayal of heritage. Through displaying her arrogance and ignorance betrayal is then brought out clearly right from the family level and even the church which ensured became a better person in the future. This has brought a conflict between her, the mother and her sister because she sees them as enemies of her progress and yet they are the people who pioneered her future life by ensuring that they use every means possible to ensure that she is in school. The use of rhetorical question by Walker (1973) enables us to comprehend her major concern while writing this short story, “Who shall inherit the quilts?” (Walker 1973) this question shows that the
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