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Word Count: 1,370
Everyday Use Throughout history different ethnic groups have struggled with their place in society They ask who are we where have we come from and where do we belong In the 1950s and 60s African Americans faced much political and social prejudice based solely on the color of their skin Race wars broke out in cities across the nation while power groups such as the Black Panthers marched on Washington During the mid-1960s young African Americans proclaimed that they would no longer be oppressed by their current lifestyle and began to celebrate African culture by exploiting it for exotic names and ethnic appeal However by discarding their roots they adopted a culture that did not belong to them thus abandoning the unique and defining aspects of their own culture Alice Walkers Everyday Use was written during this time in response to the rhetoric of black consciousness and as a challenge to phony Africaness attitudes Through a familys interactions Alice Walker conveys that the purest and most sincere way to celebrate ones heritage is by treating it not as a topic of study but rather as a way of life She then utilizes the quilt butter churn and the daughters Maggie and Dee Wangero to symbolize the idea of heritage among the struggling African Americans of the 1950s and 60s The symbolism of the quilt represents the central conflict of the story the divergence of ideals between generations Quilting was important to African-Americans because it served the functional purpose of recording keeping and also a practical purpose of insulation Johnson Moreover the quilts were often composed of feed sacks recycled cloth or relatives clothing The quilts Dee asked for were made from pieces of dresses Grandma used to wear 93 and from old clothes her mother handed down to her 93 Also when Mama reaches out to touch the quilts it is as she is reaching out to touch the people the quilts represent In
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