Heritage is an important factor to every developing family. Heritage helps to
develop a persons values showing what they believe in. Particularly about the values of
their family. In the story Everyday Use, by Alice Walker, value of heritage is a main topic.
Throughout this story there are many different words used to describe what Wangero
(Dee), Maggie, and their mother value. These choices of words all play an important role
in the contrasting values of these people and the battle over heritage.
The mother of Wangero and Maggie is the narrator of this story. It is evident at
the beginning of this story, when the narrator describes her clean yard as an extended
living room, that she is proud of her home. Her house is somewhat of a shanty, meaning
well run down and not very luxurious. Being proud of her home shows that she values
what she has and doesn’t complain about not living in luxury.
The narrator also shows that she believes in having a close family. This is evident
when she describes a dream of hers. The dream is about being on a TV program where
Dee, her daughter also known as Wangero, comes on and hugs her; telling her how she
appreciates all she has done. This experience of the hug in public s
Dee returns to visit her motherand asks for several objects within the house. She was burned in a fire at a young age and is ashamed of her appearance. " Her mother then tells her she was named afterher Aunt Dicie, but Dee continues to argue about the name. Obviously Wangero is nothappy with her family name showing a lack respect for her ancestors. "The mother also demonstrates a strong value in hardwork. When referring to anindividual heritage, choice of words is important. Wangero"tms choice of words, however, shows that she is not happywith her heritage and suggests that she wants to develop a new heritage of her own. The mother gives inand says she will call her by Wangero, letting us know that she is only concerned abouther family being happy. Another factor that shows Dee"tms disrespect of her heritage is her name change. Maggie"tms main value is her heritage. Thechoice of words in this family obviously plays on important role in the battle over heritage. This hug being in public shows that the narrator wants theworld to see the family"tms interconnectedness. She is a single mother and it is apparent that she is devoted to her family because of howhard she works to support their needs. Choice ofwords can often reveal intelligence, anger, respect, or disrespect.