Everyday Use Essay Questions

It is very clear that Dee has moved on from the simple way of life of her mother and sister, and in doing so she has alienated herself from her family as well as her roots.She, however, doesn’t seem to notice as she still wants to display still-functional artifacts of her people around her own house.She promotes a new way for African Americans to cope with their differences from the rest of America and the issues that they face and offers a way to use their heritage in a proud, public way that Mama and Maggie do not (275).

This story, narrated by their mother, recounts an awkward reunion of two sisters, Maggie and Dee.

Maggie has always been a simpler girl who preferred to stay at home with their mother, Mama, in Augusta, Georgia.

The story contains many lessons to be learned in heritage, tradition, and roots. Dee sees heritage as something that is to be displayed and honored, but should be left in the past.

Her mother and Maggie see no harm in continuing to live life the way their ancestors always have.

She then asks Mama to take home family artifacts that are still used by the women in their everyday lives such as an old butter churn.

As Dee continues to claim rights to these old household items, feeling that she can properly appreciate them, she comes across some particular family belongings that lead the story to its conflict about the meaning and present day value of heritage.

Joe Sarinowski points out the merit behind Dee’s side and compliments her on her innovation of thought.

Even though Dee’s opposing view to her sister and mother make her seem like she doesn’t understand where they are coming from, and why their way of life is so valuable to them, she values her heritage and embodies a new modern view.

Dee announces that she has changed her name to “Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo” because she does not want to be named after the people who oppressed the African Americans so she gave herself a traditional African name to honor her roots (for arguments sake she will still be referred to as Dee).

Dee’s arrival is met with even more uneasiness as she treats Maggie like a simpleton.

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