Everyday Use By Alice Walker Essay

1135 Words Mar 4th, 2016 null Page
Culture dictates many parts of life, whether it be through conscious understanding or through subconscious ritual and belief. For some, their culture defines who they are fundamentally. In Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use”, this idea of cultural norms is explored through the differing mindsets of two sisters. Also explored is how heritage, reflected in where and when one grows up, interacts and affects culture. Although both sisters were raised together in the same way, they grew up with wildly different views and cultures.
First, it is important to explore the character of Dee, or as she calls herself, Wangero. From the beginning, Mama, the narrator, makes it clear that Dee is separate from her and Maggie. She explains that Dee went off to college with the help of the community so that she could further herself intellectually. As a child, Dee “used to read to them without pity” (Walker 156). She has always been outside of their community’s cultural norms. It can be argued that this sense of otherness that she possesses arose not from an innate superiority complex but rather from how she was treated by the community. Mama and Maggie comment on the fact that Dee did not have true friends growing up and any man who attempted to court her soon left after she turned her wit on them (Walker 157). Dee makes people nervous with how she regards the world, always keeping everyone at a distance. This directly opposes the common cultural norms for any small, mainly…

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