Difference between Culture and Heritage

Difference between Culture and Heritage

Difference between Culture and Heritage “Everyday Use” is about a woman choosing which of her daughters, should receive a quilt pieced in the old way by her mother, her sister and herself. Through contrasting family members and views, Alice Walker illustrates the importance of understanding our present life in relation to the traditions of our own people and culture. The older daughters of two, Dee, comes back home with her city boyfriend, Hakim-a-barber, to a small Southern town to visit her mother and homely, barely literate sister. Dee, who has changed her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo, is now demanding the quilts, because she thinks she understands the black “heritage.” Sometimes, we think we know and understand our culture, yet not know the importance in heritage. Early in the story we learn very quickly that the mother has inherited many customs and traditions from her ancestors, through the authors description, “a large big-boned woman with rough man-working hands”, as well as her experiences, “One winter I knocked a bull calf straight in the brain between the eyes with a sledgehammer and had the meat hung up to chill by nightfall.” This idealizes the Johnson family’s heritage as being resilient and a tough. The mother seems very proud of her abilities and accomplishments. While on the other side, Dee’s character in the story has a direct relationship to any number of people in society that are confused about the word heritage. She grasps at African tradition and culture, yet fails to acknowledge her own African-American culture. When Dee informs her mother and younger sister Maggie, she has changer her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo, “I couldn’t stand it anymore, being named after the people that oppress me.” Dee’s mother is quick to point out that Dee is in fact named after her aunt, who was named after her grandmother. While Dee may not be an “African” name, it is based on…


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