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In Alice Walkerâ€™s â€œEveryday Use,â€----------The Seagull Reader - Essay Example
One traditional mother, however, secures her heritage the way she believes it should be protected. In Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use,” Mama raises two remarkably different daughters: timid…
This story demonstrates that traditional people have the right to preserve their beliefs and practices without interference from modern-thinking individuals, because modernity and traditions are both valuable and no one is superior to another.
Traditional people deserve the same respect and tolerance as modern-thinking individuals. Mama decides that the quilt belongs to Maggie, because they represent the African tradition of using quilts for their functional purposes. The quilt represents rural tradition that only Maggie understands and supports. The quilt has never fundamentally changed and has only expanded, as generations passed it from one family to another. Since Mama knows that Maggie will proudly continue this tradition, she asserts to Dee that Maggie deserves these quilts more than her. Dee reasons with her mother that: “[Maggie is] probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use” (Walker). She looks down on Maggie for being a rural woman with no education and “breeding.” She believes that by treating this quilt as an artifact, she provides a better use for her heritage. Mama, however, is tired of people belittling rural folk. She knows that the quilt belongs to Maggie, because unlike Dee, Maggie will use it for everyday use. And that is what their tradition is for- to be lived each day of their lives.
Modernity and traditions are both valuable to human identity. Mama and Maggie have not changed their traditional attitudes and lifestyles, while Dee completely chooses to change her identity, because she is ashamed of her rural background. Mama and Maggie live simple, rural lives. Mama milks cows, kills boars, and wears flannel nightgowns to bed and overalls throughout the day. Maggie helps her mother in their everyday farm and house chores. By describing how Mama and Maggie love their work, Walker argues that rural people are also happy and content with their lives. Dee is also pleased as a liberal woman. She is the kind of person, who: ...