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Through the use of contrasting household members and opinions, Alice Walker in “Everyday Use”, exemplifies the importance of realizing our present-day life in relation to the traditions of our own people and civilization. Walker uses careful explanations and postures, therefore Walker establishing which elements add to the values of one’s heritage and civilization. Walker further exemplifies that these are symbolized not by mere appearances or, the possession of objects but rather through an individual’s lifestyle and attitude they possess. In “Everyday Use”, Walker personates the dissimilar sides of heritage and culture and in the characters. Walker’s story tells the story of a mother and her two daughters' conflicting ideas about their ancestry and identities Alice Walker draws our attention to issues gender and racial matters that affected the American society. She draws these issues as the genesis of hardships that the black American woman goes through and fight each and every day of the life of hardships. (Elaine 30)
In “Everyday Use”, Walker illustrates how culture and nature has and greatly influence the characters and altered their personal significance. Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” is a story that confronts us with three roles (mother and two daughters) each having a different notion about how to carry on with their grandmother’s remnant. This is actually an issue of the contradictory thoughts about their ancestry and identities. The daughters perceive their grandmother’s quilt actually manifest their different personal value.
The mother recounts the story when Dee, arrives from college and clashes with the other daughter, Maggie, all over the ownership of some heirloom quilts in the house. Her we can well discover the mother and the younger girl, Maggie make up the old traditional black women, while the elderly daughter Dee who lives in the city has become really different from them. The culture influence in the society brings about such differences in the family. (Roskelly and David 228)
Dee has an entire different perception of the meaning of the heritage from her mother and sister. Walker describes Dee as selfish and arrogant woman and much different from her mother and sister. Dee left her little rural home township and went to the college and this changed her. Dee acquired education from the school that her mother and sister acquired and even many people from diverse backgrounds such as her boyfriend. Thus nature and the culture changed her personal value of life. Dee is an example of a black girl who has been shaped by the white culture. Walker described Dee’s motions when she was decided to take the quilts shows how she a girl with ego for “She held the quilts securely in her arms, stroking them;” (Susan 180)
The grandmother’s quilts represented the traditional African American black culture heritages, which Dee’s selfish shows that she does not understand. “Dee moved back just enough so that I couldn’t reach the quilts. They already belonged to her.” (Macheski 180) In Dee’s judgment the quilts is just quilts and should simply account to its aesthetic and financial value.
Mum and Maggie are not ready to be changed by the outside world but they want themselves simply adopt the pure Africa American culture heritage like trying to save their grandmother’s quilt. Maggie on the other hand is timid, pure, kind, and even an innocent girl. She enjoys the tradition things and in her mind the quilts themselves are inseparable from the culture they rose. Walker believes the pure and traditional culture is correct and that culture must be put into “Everyday use” position to keep it active and alive (Walker 50).
A Raisin in the Sun
A Raisin in the Sun written by Lorraine Hansberry anticipates the numerous matters which were to separate American culture throughout the decade of the 1960s. Lorraine Hansberry’s a Raisin in the Sun a prominent drama that is an illustration of American culture in the 1960's. A Raisin in the Sun is a play that presents the lives of an African-American household straining to make their lives better not only for themselves but for the next generations (Guy-Sheftall 126).
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Walter Lee Younger is the protagonist of the play. Walter is a dreamer and would like to become rich. He comes up with plans to gain wealth with his friends, especially Willy Harris. Walter plans to invest his father's insurance money in business prospect for a new liquor store. However, he expends the rest of the play continuously deep in thought with discovering a quick answer to his family's various troubles. On the other hand, Beneatha Younger and Walter's sister is an intellectual girl. Been Twenty years old, she goes to college and is acquires education than the rest of the Younger family. Due to her beliefs and views, she is have distanced her from conservative Mama. Thus we can see that she resembles Dee in the “everyday use” that is well educated and distanced from her mother heritage. Beneatha is determined to be a doctor and therefore struggles to work out her identity as a well-educated black woman.
Lena Younger, the mother of Walter and Beneatha is the matriarch of the family. She is Mama is religious, moral, and maternal. We can compare her to Dee’s mother as they share the characteristic of holding fast to what is religious or traditional. Lena plans to use her husband's insurance money to make a down payment on a house with a backyard as she believes that this will make come to pass her dream for her family to move up in the world. However, we can note that Dees mother is not as progressive as Lena who desires to have a house for the family and even braces the challenges of been bribed not to move out. Ruth Younger, the wife of Walter hopes that she will rekindle their love with Walter once again. Though constantly fighting troubles, she goes on to be an emotional strong woman whose pessimistic nature helps her survive. Her son Travis who goes to school has to carry groceries in order to get some money to take to school (Maxine 12).
Travis like to play together with the neighboring children but he has not bedroom and can only sleep on the living-room sofa.(Maxine 50) Beneatha, Walters sister is in love with Joseph Asagai - A Nigerian. He is often referred as Asagai and his proud African heritage. Beneatha believes and hopes that she will learn about her African heritage from him. Here, Beneatha is slightly different from Dee, who does not appreciate her culture. Dee also does not desire to learn her heritage as compared to Beneatha. When Asagai proposes for a hand in marriage, Beneatha accepts and hopes she will return to Nigeria with him. Despite that George Murchison, an, African-American man courting Beneatha is rich, Beneatha turns him down. Although approved by the Youngers, Beneatha dislikes his disposition to submit to white culture and bury his African heritage. George is seen to challenge the ideas and feelings of other black people by his arrogance and flair for intellect. Despite the fact that Dee and Beneatha are educated women, we can see that Beneatha is greatly pulled towards his culture while Dee is not. Mr. Karl Lindner - the only white character in the play. Mr. Lindner arrives at the Youngers' apartment from the Clybourne Park Improvement Association. He offers the Youngers a deal to reconsider moving into his (all-white) neighborhood.
Bobo, one of Walter's partners in their proposed liquor plan appears to be as mentally slow as his reveals. Mrs. Johnson, a neighbor of the Youngers’ takes advantage of the Youngers' hospitality and discourages them about going into a predominately white neighborhood. This is a clear picture of individuals, who hold their culture and are not ready to open up and embrace other culture. During the play, Youngers clash over their contending dreams. Ruth discovers that she is pregnant but has fear that upon having the child, she will put more financial stress on her family members. Lena succeeds in putting down payments on a house for the whole family as believes that a larger and brighter dwelling will help them all together as a family. Despite the fact that the Youngers were offered money by Mr.Lindner from Clybourne Park Improvement Association, the Youngers refused to accept the deal and Walter lost the money to his friend Willy Harris. Harris had persuaded Walter to invest in the liquor store but later run off with his cash.
Joseph Asagai, a Nigerian and a boyfriend of Beneatha wants Beneatha to get a medical degree and later move with him to move to Africa with him. The Youngers finally moved out of the apartment, thereby accomplishing the family's long-held dream, the dream of having a house for the whole family. Although the future appears unsure and slightly dangerous, the Youngers’ are optimistic and settled to live an improved life. The Youngers believe that their success is sure if they stay together as a family and resolve to defer those dreams that may not be of benefit to them as a family. To this end, we notice that the Youngers’ approach issues as a family unlike Dee’s family. In the “everyday use”, we notice that Margie’s mum offers to give Margie the quilt but Margie tells her to give it to Dee, her elder sister. Here, the family is not in a position of resolving the difference amicably (walker 20).
From the two works, it is evident that the Youngers’ family is better placed in coping with their problems and challenges facing them. We learn and appreciate the Value and Purpose of Dreams as the Youngers family battles with the oppressive circumstances that rule their lives. Although every member of the Younger family do have has a separate and, individual dreams they struggle to attain these dreams during the play, and most of their depression and happiness is directly related their accomplishment or failure to attain, these dreams. As the play comes to an end, the Youngers’ learn that the dream of a house seems to be the only dream that unites the family.
The Youngers fight racial discrimination when the Clybourne Park Improvement Association, sends Mr. Lindner to convince them not to get into the all-white Clybourne Park locality. The Youngers respond however to this discrimination with defiance and strength. Thus Lorraine demonstrates that the best way to handle discrimination is by one to stand up to it and confirm one's dignity in the face of it instead than allowing it to pass unchecked.
The Youngers’ as they struggle economically and socially during the play end up uniting in the end to actualize their dream of buying a house. Lena does strongly believe in the importance of family. Lena has therefore tried to teach this value to her family as she battles to keep them united and running. Beneatha and Walter learn this example about family at the end of the play, when Walter must carry on with having lost the insurance money and even Beneatha refuses that Walter is her brother. Yet while facing such trauma, the family comes together to reject Mr. Lindner's racist approaches. They are nevertheless firm individuals can function as part of a family. They realize that by only putting the family and the family's wishes before their own, they combine their private dreams with the family's overarching dream. ( Maxine 68)
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