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“Everyday Use” by Alice Walker is based on the period of 1960s and 1970s, when most of the African Americans were putting effort in defining their identity within the American society. The short story was published in 1973 and made up In Love and Trouble, which was the author’s collection of short stories. The author highlights many underlying social issues with most of them based on the families and how heritage can have different meaning to different people.
In the short story, the author provides an interesting picture of family life. One of the issues that the story highlights is sibling rivalry, which often affects many families. Alice provides the picture of two sisters, Maggie and Dee who unlike many would expect, are different in their own ways despite being born of the same parents. Maggie is uneducated while her Dee is more of an arrogant person owing to her successes. Through the two sisters, the author sends a strong message that one should not let their looks take over their heads but instead treat other people the same way one would love to be treated.
The two sisters have varying interests in their own heritage and the author uses them to show just how much two people from the same background can have varied thoughts about their heritage. Dee is more of a spoilt girl and wants the people around her to take note of her since she tries to show that she came from nothing. She is interested in showing other people that it does not matter where one comes from but they can struggle to become something much better than their backgrounds. On the other hand, Maggie believes heritage is just a tradition and ought to be passed to the subsequent generations.
Walker, A., (2011), "Everyday Use." The Story and Its Writer. Ed. Anna Charters. Compact 8th edn. Boston: Bedfor/St. Martin's, 852–858.
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