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Everyday Use, by Alice Walker and The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson Essays

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In comparing and contrasting the short stories “Everyday Use” written by Alice Walker and “The Lottery” written by Shirley Jackson, tradition is carried on throughout the generations. Symbols are often used in these short stories to convey these messages of tradition and heritage. Rebellious characters are also found in both of the stories, trying to alter traditions to meet their own personal expectations. However, in contrast “The Lottery” is a much more barbaric story that does not reveal the cruelty until the end of the story. The story involves an entire village of families following a tradition. “Everyday Use” is not as tragic, it deals with a conflict within a single family unit.
Both short stories have strong value of tradition and heritage. The lottery is a longstanding ritual where the villagers draw a name each year on June 27th and the unfortunate soul who has drawn the slip of paper marked with a black smudge is stoned to their death. The sacrifice is meant to keep the village crops healthy and hearty. In the story “Everyday Use” the tradition of passing down homemade quilts and family memories are of high importance.
Symbols are displayed in both stories; the quilts in “Everyday Use” symbolize the memories of Mama’s family. The quilts are made of pieces of old clothing from Mama’s family. Each piece of the quilt represents that person and who they were. They are passed on to future generations along with stories of the ancestors’ past. The quilts represent pride of their ancestors’ struggles, where they came from and the fight to preserve their individuality. Unlike Dee, Mama and Maggie acknowledge their heritage from memories of their family members. Dee bases her heritage off ...


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... attempts to change the way Mama and Maggie perceive tradition by using the quilts as a wall display. Mama refuses to allow it, Dee was offered the quilts when she was in college and didn’t want them at that time. Mama gives the quilts to Maggie as her wedding gift to be used every day as they were intended, knowing how much Maggie appreciates them. I agree with Mama and Maggie for keeping family memories and objects in daily use. It is important to maintain your family history in your everyday life to preserve those special memories.



Works Cited

Walker, Alice. “Everyday Use.” Perrine’s Story & Structure, 13th Ed.
Ed. Helen Triller. Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2012, 2009, 2006. 108-115. Print.

Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” Perrine’s Story & Structure, 13th Ed.
Ed. Helen Triller. Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2012, 2009, 2006. 220-227. Print.


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