How Does Alice Walker's View Of Heritage

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Walker shows her approval of Mrs. Johnson’s view of heritage as memory and tradition by making Dee an unsavory character. Dee’s flaws are subtly highlighted throughout “Everyday Use”. Walker paints Dee as a self-centered, judgmental, and materialistic woman. In the opening sentence of “Everyday Use” Mrs. Johnson, Dee’s mother, says “I will wait for her in the yard that Maggie and I made so clean and wavy yesterday afternoon.” (pg. 1512). Dee, described in this quote as “her”, is an outsider to Mrs. Johnson. She is simply a stranger - a guest that she is preparing to host. By allowing the reader to witness the divide that Mrs. Johnson and Maggie have with Dee, it sets up a platform for Walker to illustrate her views of memory and tradition. Dee’s mother and sister…show more content…
Another way to say, “Look at me”. Conversely, not only does the traditional aspect of these items mean a great deal to Dee, but they are necessary for Mrs. Johnson and Maggie’s everyday life, they are not in a position use appliances for decoration. This same point applies for when Dee goes into Mrs. Johnsons trunk and finds two quilts that Mrs. Johnson had promised to pass down to Maggie. These quilts had a great deal of historical and traditional value to Mrs. Johnson – her grandmother and aunt had quilted them by hand, they were even made from “scraps of dresses Grandma Dee had worn fifty and more years ago. Bits and pieces of Grandpa Jarrell’s Paisley shirts. And one teeny faded blue piece, about the size of a penny matchbox, that was from Great Grandpa Ezra’s uniform that he wore in the Civil War.” (pg. 1517). When Mrs. Johnson finally tells Dee that she cannot have the quilts because they were promised to Maggie, Dee gasps and says, “Maggie Can’t appreciate these quilts! She’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use.” (pg. 1517). Dee’s definition of appreciation is taking handmade quilts from her mother, which were meant to be passed down to her sister, and use them for
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