Modern English Composition 1102
22 October 2010
What are people’s beliefs? A belief is something to trust or believe in. Whether it is religion, morals, or heritage, people’s beliefs are very important to them. The story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker explains the Native Americans’ belief in their heritage. It shows how deeply rooted and important their culture is and how they live to honor and respect their ancestors. Their lives also revolve around tradition. They have great respect for the ancestors that handed down their heritage, and it is very disrespectful to deny this handed down heritage. I agree with Mama in “Everyday Use” because she greatly appreciates her belief in the Native American culture and tradition. Mama likes to live by tradition and becomes upset when one of her daughters disrespects her heritage.
The mother in “Everyday Use” is shown as a very traditional ...view middle of the document...
However, her sister, Maggie, is very proud of her culture just like her mother. During the story, Dee moves away from her family to get an education. Later, she visits but comes back only to take the family heirloom quilts. She wants these quilts for decorations. The mother was extremely insulted by Dee’s purpose of these special heirlooms. The mother realizes the difference in her daughters when Dee rudely expects to take away the quilts for this purpose. Mama finally made the right decision from Maggie’s disrespectful actions as shown in this quote, “Hang them,” she said. As if that was the only thing you could do with quilts” (Walker 376). Instead of giving into Dee’s idea, the mother finally realizes the quilts belonged to Maggie because she actually appreciates her heritage. I like Mama’s decision of giving Maggie the quilts instead of Dee. I would not give my family heirlooms to someone who does not appreciate them.
The way Dee was acting when she visited home greatly upset Mama. Dee disappoints her by not being loyal to their heritage. Mama also disagrees with Dee’s suggestion to her family about the modernism she learns about while gone, “Your heritage,” she said. And then she turned to Maggie, kissed her, and said, “You ought to try to make something of yourself, too, Maggie. It’s really a new day for us. But from the way you and Mama still live you’d never know it” (Walker 376). I agree with Mama also about being disappointed in her daughter. Conforming into a different heritage is extremely disrespectful.
I agree with all the of Mama’s beliefs in “Everyday Use”. She respects her heritage and lives by her heritage’s traditions. She also became upset when Dee disrespects the heritage she was raised by. This helped her make the decision on giving Maggie the quilts. The decision Mama made during the story shows how loyal she is to the Native American heritage. The way Mama stands up for her heritage is also very respectful.
Walker, Alice. “Everyday Use.” 2010. Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. By X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 3rd ed. Boston: Longman, 2010. 369-376. Print.