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4 pages/≈1100 words
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MLA
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Literature & Language
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English (U.S.)
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Topic:

Everyday Use By Alice Walker: Cultural Background (Essay Sample)

Instructions:

The essay should be a mini-rhetorical analysis. Main concerns: structure of essay: Your thesis; Author's purpose (accomplished, how?); Author's statement about the human condition; Your conclusion.
Double-spaced 4-page Argumentive Essay, remember to begin with an intro that ends with your thesis. what is one of the themes (statements about the human condition) made by Alice Walker in "EVERYDAY USE". explain which details or quotes within the story supports your choice of theme or human condition.

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“Everyday Use” by Alice Walker
Alice Walker's “Everyday Use” is a vivid description of the dire need for individuals to create identities for themselves that is far different from their cultural background and heritage. In essence, it has a representation of self-denial that often hides the reality of or rather the facts of life concerning an individual's attachment to their cultural background. Alice Walker gives a narration of the different cultural views from the eyes of three members of a single family sharing the same cultural heritage but facing the external transitional influences on their culture which is stood for generations. Mama (Mrs. Johnson), and her two daughters, Dee and Maggie are articulate representations of the conflicting ideologies on matters relating to cultural heritage and its influence on an individual's identity. Cultural heritage plays a significant role in determining an individual's social identity as, despite the external influences, it remains integral to a person's sense of belonging.
The author is quick to bring out the differences existing within the current generation of Mrs Johnson's family that seeks to disrupt the peaceful transition of cultural values and traditions from one generation to the other. Mama is a proud conformist to the traditional way of life and together with her youngest daughter embrace life in the local setting. Mama gives a description of herself as, “a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands. In the winter I wear flannel nightgowns to bed and overalls during the day. I can kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man.” It is a show of pride in the cultural traditions that deem the women to be equally as hardy as the men in the society as well as matching their productivity. Maggie is also content with the status quo and the past has already scarred her future, shaping it from the generational framework of the family's ancestors. Dee, on the other hand, presents the antagonist of the conflict with her obsession with foreign values and ways of life which exhaust the rest of her family members. Mama narrates her eldest daughter's affiliation to a foreign culture with some contempt saying, “She used to read to us without pity; forcing words, lies, other folk's habits, whole lives upon us two, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice. She washed us in a river of make.belive, burned us with a lot of knowl edge we didn't necessarily need to know.” Evidently, Mama and Maggie are content with the family's cultural background and its heritage while Dee is bent on leaving her heritage behind and embracing foreign cultural traditions and values as she endeavors to create a social identity for herself.
Alice Walker's characterization techniques appeal to the emotions of the reader in understanding Mama and Maggie's unsettling disturbance with Dee's disregard for their family traditions. As the story unfolds, the author gives a description of the lo

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