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Write a response to the statement below based on "Everyday Use." Returning to one's...

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kristenmarieb... | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted March 2, 2013 at 2:24 AM via web

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Write a response to the statement below based on "Everyday Use."

Returning to one's cultural roots is just a stylish fad. 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 2, 2013 at 6:21 AM (Answer #1)

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The practice of adopting African culture and religion is something that is sardonically presented in "Everyday Use." Dee is shown to have "returned to her African roots" in an effort to liberate herself from white oppression. She therefore changes her name to Wangero as she couldn't "bear" being named after "the people who oppress" her, and she certainly adopts a style of dress and fashion that fits her return to her cultural roots. However, what Mama finds is that, in adopting her African cultural roots, Dee is actually completely forgetting about her own family past that stretches back "beyond the Civil War," as Mama proudly tells the reader. What indicates that Dee's return to her roots is nothing more than a stylish fad is the way that it becomes very evident that this change in her identity allows her and her partner to choose which parts of their new culture they adopt and which they ignore. Note Mama's comment on what they choose to eat:

We sat down to eat and right away he said he didn't eat collards and pork was unclean. Wangero, though, went on through the chitlins and corn bread, the greens and everything else.

Dee clearly ignores some of the cultural practices of her new identity as she sees fit, and the discrepancy between her partner and her own eating habits is something that demonstrates this. The final words of Dee as she says, pityingly, to her mother and sister that they don't understand their "heritage," when it is she who clearly has forgotten her heritage cements the criticism that Walker levels against those who return to their roots and indicates that this move is just a stylish fad on the part of Dee.

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