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3 pages/≈825 words
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Literature & Language
English (U.S.)
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Compare & Contrast Short Stories: The Great Equalizer (Essay Sample)


You CANNOT use secondary research. ONLY the short stories. 750-1000 words in MLA formatting. It needs to quote directly from your chosen test(s) for support (at least 4).


The Great Equalizer
Change is perhaps the only guaranteed aspect of life. The fact that individuals, societies, and values will inevitably change over time is not only the great equalizer of all men and women but is also one of the main drivers of conflict among people. The short story “Marriage Is a Private Affair” by Chinua Achebe explores the relationship between a young man and his father, who rigidly seeks to follow tradition by finding a ‘suitable' wife for his son from within their tribe. Unsurprisingly, this eventually ruins the relationship between father and son. Along with a similar line, “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker is a short story that explores the relationships between a mother and her daughters, who are not only different, but she also treats very differently. It is worth acknowledging that while these two stories are plucked from different cultures, they both provide elaborate depictions of parent-child relationships and how change can spark conflict between parents and children. Upon comparing the relationships of Dee and her mother in “Everyday Use” and that of Nnaemeka and his father in “Marriage Is a Private Affair,” it becomes quite clear that change is the main source of conflict in parent-child relationships and particularly so due to the social and inter-generational differences between parents and children.
Societal change is a leading instigator of conflict between Dee and her mother. This is purposely because such changes cause dissonance between the values and cultures that parents and children hold, seeing as they are influenced by the society in different ways. In “Everyday Use,” Dee and her mother struggle to connect and understand each other after she comes back home. Dee has been influenced by the empowerment of women and African Americans in general, enabling her to have a better appreciation of her deep and rich culture and heritage. This causes Dee to desire historically valuable objects that define her rich heritage such as the hand-stitched quilts made by her grandmother, her aunt, and her mother. This is in spite of the fact that she had previously refused a quilt her mother offered her when she went off to college (Walker 4). After receiving an education and being exposed to the appreciation of her culture, Dee changes her name to “Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo!” (Walker 3) and strongly

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