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对《外婆日用家当》中黑人文化遗产的不同态度的分析


对《外婆日用家当》中黑人文化遗产不同态度的分析

邯郸学院外国语学院 School of Foreign Languages of Handan College 英美小说选读学期小论文
论文题目: 对《外婆日用家当》中黑人文化遗产的不同态度的分析

Title:

An Analysis of Different Attitudes to Black Heritage in Everyday Use



业:

英语师范

对《外婆日用家当》中黑人文化遗产不同态度的分析

Abstract:Alice Walker is the author of “Everyday Use”. This novel from the collection In Love
and Trouble published in 1973 was written during the heyday of the Black Power movement, when African Americans were trying to gain racial equality and called for self-determination and racial dignity. Everyday Use is Alice Walker?s answer to the social discourse of that time, especially concerning the African American concept of heritage and identity. This paper tries to analyze that three women have different attitudes and concepts about black heritage.

Key words: black heritage Introduction

attitude

Dee Mrs. Johnson Maggie

The aim of this work is to introduce the reader to some vital ideas of Alice Walker?s writings, especially concerning the concept of black heritage, by interpreting her short story “Everyday Use”. Before being led into the story?s interpretation the reader learns about Alice Walker?s notable biography. A short outline of the story?s plot and structure informs the reader about the main topics and prepares him to enter a deeper level of understanding. The main characters are presented and characterized before their different concepts of heritage are juxtaposed. Finally, the story?s key images, the quilts, are examined a little more deeply and the narrative situation is discussed. The story is widely accepted as one of the best stories on the dilemma of black heritage and has a wide range of images. It gives birth to new aspects every time you have understood one of the numerous levels of meaning the story includes. The main source for this work is Raimund Borgmeier?s very profound article on the short story. It was not easy to find useful material for this work as the SLUB lacks the most recommended books for this story, but fortuitously the internet provides enough material to give this work a solid basis. Although the interpretation of some images or metaphors may be unsatisfactory, the main ideas are certainly explained adequately. 1. Dee’s Attitude to Heritage Dee is a traitor of black culture. This novel is with the spread of the mother?s memory of the elder daughter-Dee. Dee is a beautiful and confident girl who is mother's pride. At the same time in mother?s eyes, although Dee is smart and beautiful, she is a rebel of black traditional culture. Dee regards white consciousness and culture even lies as truth, following and pursuing the lead of white culture, so that she lost herself with the shocking of the strong white culture. Not only that, she forces her mother and her sister to accept this kind of values. Under the influence of the black civil rights movement, Dee, who attends school outside, with her friends comes back home to seek
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对《外婆日用家当》中黑人文化遗产不同态度的分析

roots. Dee changes her own name into Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo. She thinks her name Dee is given by the white who are oppressed them, but in fact this passed down from generation to generation is the name of their grandmother for offspring inheriting cultural expectations, and in a sense this name has become family cultural heritage. Her new name has no relation with her, making her disrupt from black culture. Dee?s move is just a skimming over the surface and shallow vulgar understanding of the black culture. She is only interested in the cultural symbol items, and she thinks collecting some art is regression culture, thinking this can catch up with the fashion trend. Actually she does not know these items contain massive cultural and historical connotation, so they can?t cause her emotional resonance. Especially the two quilts which push the story to the high tide, so, although Dee claimed that she is looking for the root of national culture, in fact she practices but things go contrary to her wishes. She just comes near the surface of the culture, but away from the black culture foundation, and also away from the historical tradition and heritage. It all adds up to a very shallow image of her concept of heritage. Dee seems to be riding on the latest wave of fashionable Africanism, confusing the real nature of her heritage with something which can be inherited like property. And while her original name, already carried by several generations of female ancestors, can be traced back beyond the Civil War (cf. Walker ), the new African name is not related to her personal history at all and dissociates her from her family and therefore from her true heritage. Now she neither belongs to her family anymore nor to her newly created identity. Not only was her search for a new heritage in vain, she also lost her real roots. This feeling is typical of the blacks of that time. 2. Mrs. Johnson’s Attitude to Heritage Mother is a defender of the black culture. In the novel, mother is a very traditional black woman, although life is very hard, and day is very distressed, mother is hard-working and open-minded, so she doesn't succumb. On the contrary, she uses positive life energy to deal with the heavy gloomy reality. She does not receive much education, so she can?t understand which certain condition she is in, but she has her own profound understanding of the national culture. She is the true sense of the national culture of “defenders”. When Dee tries to take away the quilts which already gave Maggie for superficial purposes, Maggie?s reaction let mother completely awake, she refused Dee, and” does something never done before, she gives Maggie a hug and pulls her into the room, and grabs the quilts from Dee?s hands, then put on Maggie?s lap”. She
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对《外婆日用家当》中黑人文化遗产不同态度的分析

could not agree with Dee?s attitude to the quilt. For the mother, connecting the quilts of each piece of cloth is a family history, and the process of sewing a quilt is family blend, cultural transmission process. Quilts are the blood and emotional ties of members of the family, so they can never be shown just as a traditional handicraft. So she snatches the quilts from Dee and back to Maggie. From the deep sense, she preserves and continuities the native cultural heritage. 3. Maggie’s Attitude to Heritage Maggie is a successor of the native culture. Maggie is the symbol of the painful black American history. It seems each family has one child inherited all the advantages of parents, and another child is always not as clever and beautiful as he (or she). Maggie is the second child. She has no genes and good luck as Dee which get from parents? inheritance. She is ugly, inferiority, awkward and weak; all of these features seem to symbolize the black American pain culture. In the novel Maggie is ugly, inferiority, awkward, weak, but such a girl is given the black culture successor image by the author. Maybe Maggie doesn't know national cultural heritage for what they are and what are its value, but family history and family of the ACTS of seal tightly in her mind, she gives them new life. When Dee wants to take the two quilts which belong to her, she is shocked. She is really cherished the two quilts. To Maggie speaking, these two quilts are the permanent memorial of all of mother's family and relatives, every piece of cloth, a glimmer of all saturated of the quilts is full of relatives? breath, and they can remind her thoughts of her relatives. She wants to use every day, and in the actual use of the quilts to their inheritance to her own cultural heritage, so that they can remind her of all of her relatives. Maggie has learned how to sew a quilt, so she can pass the skills to continue to honor her relatives, and she can always create this kind of art. It shows that she has understood the national essence, and has inherited the black cultural heritage of the soul.

Conclusion
At this point the vital ideas of the novel should be apparent to the reader. It should be clear that the story is mainly about the different possible approaches to black heritage, represented by the two very contrastive figures of Maggie and Dee. The sisters are used to converse the use and misuse of the word ?heritage?. The story certainly includes many more images and would be worth a work much longer than this. And the most important aspect of every piece of literature is that, in
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对《外婆日用家当》中黑人文化遗产不同态度的分析

spite of all the content-related and interpretational aspects, it is still enjoyable and therefore worth reading.

Bibliography
Heol, Hegla. “Personal Names and Heritage in Alice Walker ?s Everyday Use”[J]. American Studies in Scandinavia, 1991(1) Walker, Alice. In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women [M]. Harcourt Brace &Company, 1973 Sperber, Wilson. Relevance: Communication and Cognition[M]. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986 黄炳瑜. 女性自我意识的觉醒——爱丽丝·沃克《日常使用》中的女性形象, 广西师范学院 院报: 哲学社会科学版[J], 2003(1) 季静芬. 爱丽丝·沃克的感叹——试析《奶奶的日用家当》的思想内涵[J]. 常熟高专学报, 1999(3) 谢玉娥. 《女性文学研究》[M]. 河南: 河南大学出版社, 1996 张汉熙. 高级英语(修订本)[M]. 北京: 外语教育与研究出版社, 1996 第二版 张德明. 多元文化杂交时代的民族文化记忆问题[J]. 外国文学评论, 2001 年第 3 期.

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