Familial Respect In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

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Introduction Respect for one’s heritage and family culture has importance in every culture. Certain cultures, however, such as Asian and Hispanic families, give familial respect more value than others. However, regardless of how esteemed this concept is from one culture to another, familial respect is key to maintaining healthy relationships in every family. In Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use,” Walker introduces a family of three: a mother and her two daughters. At the time of the story, the mother’s oldest daughter, Dee, is returning home to visit her mother and sister after being away. The mother knows that Dee has never really appreciated the way that she has supported and raised Dee through childhood (Walker, 978), and Dee’s visit back to…show more content…
She does not truly respect them. Instead of using them practically, she wants to use them as mere decorations. She does not truly appreciate them for what they were made to do. For example, though her mother uses it for her butter churn, Dee requests her mother’s churn top to use “as a centerpiece for [her] alcove table.” In addition, Dee refuses to use her grandmother’s old quilts and “put them to everyday use;” rather, she wants to hang them up for decoration (Walker, 982). Dee’s desire to use her family’s treasures as decorations rather than practical objects to be used every day is evidence of her mindset that her family heritage is a thing of the past and no longer relevant to her life.
The story “Everyday Use” highlighted the lack of respect and reverence that Dee had for her family and her heritage. During the time period in which the story was set, this concept was important in Southern African-American culture and to Dee’s family. However, Dee chose not to place her family in high esteem. Dee’s character gives readers a model not to follow, one that should deter them from her example and instead encourage them towards loving and respecting their
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