What are the three themes in Everday Use?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In the short story "Everyday Use," one theme is that of claiming one's heritage. Dee leaves behind a humdrum Southern life in search for a more fulfilling one. She attends school in Agusta and then comes back home as a sophisticated woman.

Dee seems to have more of an appreciation for the every day items she used while growing up. She desires the churn for her home's decoration. She desires the quilts that her mother has been saving for Maggie. The theme of claiming one's heritage is evident.

Dee in accompanied by an intellectual man who seems to be caught up in his African origin. He has an African name. Likewise, Dee has changed her name to an African name. The theme of origin is evident in the way they are dressed and in their speaking. Originality is modeled in the way the two are speaking and interacting.

Homecoming is a theme. While the man who accompanies Dee states that particular foods are not healthy, Dee sits down at the table and gulps down all the Southern foods she took for granted as a child. She seems to have an appreciation for her mother's Southern cooking when she visits. The theme of the art of cooking Southern food is a relevant theme.

Overall, taking things for granted is an evident theme. All the things that Dee used as a child were just every day items. Now, Dee returns home and cherishes the ordinary items. She has grown up to appreciate the every day items and realizes they are more than something that should be used for every day use.

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