Sunday, March 22, 2020

The American Dream Represented by Dee in Alice Walkers free essay sample

The American Dream is the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. Since the United States became an independent country in 1776, Americans have pursued their own dreams, all hoping to earn money, own land, and lead a life not dictated by anyone else. In Alice Walker’s â€Å"Everyday Use,† Dee is a shining example of an American pursuing her dream and succeeding at it. Dee came from a background of poverty. Her lineage includes slaves and farm workers that were never able to better themselves enough to rise above the poverty. She knew since she was little that the country was not for her. She wanted an education. She wanted to move to the city. So Dee worked very hard from the time she was a child to become educated and literate enough to go to college. Dee accomplished that, and when she got there met more people similar to her. She met African Americans that felt they need not be hindered by their poor backgrounds. We will write a custom essay sample on The American Dream Represented by Dee in Alice Walkers or any similar topic specifically for you Do Not WasteYour Time HIRE WRITER Only 13.90 / page One of the wonderful things about America is that there is no caste system. A man or a woman may be born poor and uneducated, but he or she does not have to stay that way. Americans can be as successful as they set their minds to. Dee was born with this mentality. Her background did not mean much to her in respect of how successful she would be in life. â€Å"Everyday Use† begins with Mama and Maggie, Dee’s younger sister, awaiting Dee’s arrival. She is coming home for a visit after being away at college in the city for a long time. When she arrives she looks much different than Mama and Maggie. She is dressed in a way that can be described as stylized African clothes. She is wearing a bright orange African styled dress, is wearing big gold jewelry, and is wearing her hair in a natural afro. She has also brought with her a man that could be her husband, she does not say for certain. The man greets Mama with the Muslim greeting â€Å"Asalama leikum†, and since Mama cannot pronounce or perhaps remember what he says his name is, she calls his Asalama leikum throughout the story. Dee announces she has also changed her name to Wangero, because the name Dee was given to her by the people that oppressed her. Dee takes many pictures of the house and of Mama and Maggie. She asks for the lid of an old butter churn that one of Dee’s uncles made himself. Dee is hoping to capture the poverty from which she came, and take it home with her to the city to show her friends. Eventually she asks for some old family quilts. At this point Mama gets angry with Dee. Mama had offered the quilts to Dee a long time ago, but then Dee did not want them. Now they are promised to Maggie. Dee argues with Mama that the quilts need to be properly displayed, and that Maggie will just put them to everyday use. Eventually Mama wins and Dee leaves without the quilts. One interpretation of Dee in â€Å"Everyday Use† is that she has a very misguided view of her heritage. She would rather identify with the Africans that she has never been exposed to than with her more direct lineage. Dee was a family name, but because she associated it with the slave owners that owned her family, she chose to give herself a new name. Furthermore, all Dee’s life she has wanted nothing more than to get away from her poverty stricken country home, but now, all of the sudden, she wants pictures of it, and wants to bring pieces of it back home with her. It is not wonder why Mama is confused and a little upset by Dee’s actions. It does however, make good sense. Clearly, Dee did hate her home when she was a child. Mama even alluded that house fire that burned down their first home may have been caused by Dee. Dee absolutely did hate her home and everything it represented: slavery, poverty, illiteracy. Dee is an adult now, she is educated now. Now she can look back on her past and have a sense of accomplishment and pride in herself for getting out of there. It is no surprise she wants pieces of her past to with her into her future. They will remind her of why she works so hard. They will remind her every day what her American Dream is, and how she must work at achieving it every day. Dee embodies the American Dream. She was born into poverty, the descendant of slaves, but she did not want to stay that way. Dee wanted to be an educated proud woman, living in the city. Dee accomplished that. Dee became strong and independent. She hated where she came from but now she can appreciate it. Dee finally got to a place in her life where she can accept her past, as unfortunate as it was, as a huge factor in getting her where she is now. If she had not come from such a bad background, she may not have been motivated enough to better herself. Further reading into the actual life of Alice Walker would reveal that she too, was born in poverty, and she too moved to the city for an education. Walker became a member of â€Å"The Movement,† and advocate for African American civil rights. One may view Dee as Walker’s interpretation of herself. Both are strong willed women that achieved their own American Dreams, and would serve as exceptional role models for anyone else with a similar dream.

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