Self Identity Shaped by Traditions

1170 words 5 pages
Self Identity Shaped by Traditions
The identity of one's self can largely be defined by one's culture and heritage. Family makes up the most part of your culture as well as the place you call home. To fully understand yourself you have to investigate all the cultures you are comprised of through your family and heritage. In “Everyday Use” Alice Walker takes a deeper look at the concept of heritage through the conflicted relationship of Mamma and her two daughters. The story shows was heritage will shape yourself along with your life to make you the person you are today.
Culture is an important element of self- identity and contributes to how individuals view themselves and the community they live in. Family is our foundation. If we
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We need cultural identity because of the importance of self and how we relate to others around the world. It defines who we are and how others view us. The conflict in “Everyday Use” climaxes when Mamma must decide which daughter will receive the quilts. It is through the characters Mamma, Dee, and Maggie that the meaning of heritage is explored. From this description, and a reference to her having no more than a second grade education (Walker 418) , it is apparent that she takes pride in the practical aspects of her nature and that she has not devoted much time to the contemplation of abstract concepts such as heritage.
Although all of the character's views on heritage are expressed, Dee's character is given the more detailed description of ways she strays from her heritage. From the beginning, Dee despises the home that they live in. When it is destroyed in a fire, her mother wants to ask her, "Why don't you do a dance around the ashes?," expressing Dee's utter aversion towards the home (Walker 419). Most people take pride in their home and cherish it for all of the memories that it holds for them, but Dee is insensitive to the family's loss. After becoming of age, Dee decides to go to college, where she begins to hold her newly found knowledge against her family because of their lack of it. This opportunity to go out of her town and see the world gives Dee a taste of a better lifestyle that she wants to become a part of,


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