Cultural Dynamics Paper Sample Essay.
The backgrounds we grow in often define who we are and how we perceive the society, but it shapes our attitudes toward life. Contrary to our expectations, the beliefs and the societal systems in the 1900s were centered on the background of an individual. Chances and opportunities were based on color and as Alice Walker describe in her book Everyday Use. The people of color not only faced rejection from the whites but also from the within their own families based on their background and social class. In this book the characters, Mama, Maggie and Dee depicts the lives of the normal black American families in the 1900s. The story is about Dee visiting her mother Mama and her sister Maggie in their poor house that she had despised after becoming well-off. She comes with her fiancé Asalamalakim, but cannot bring along her friends. This implies that the background we grow up in shapes our attitudes and perception in life.
Mama yearns for the imaginary life she witness on the television only to realize it is far from reality. At the beginning of the story, Mama fantasizes about a family show hosted by Johnny Carson whereby families are united through this programs which are aimed at reconciling. She hopes that Dee and her can be reconciled in a similar manner only to realize it is for the rich and wealthy. “You’ve no doubt seen those TV shows where the child who has “made it” is confronted, as a surprise, by her own mother and father, tottering in weakly from backstage…Sometimes I dream a dream in which Dee and I are suddenly brought together on a TV program of this sort. Out of a dark and soft seated limousine I am ushered into a bright room filled with many people (Walker, 1994). This quote points out to the fact Mama has lived her life in poverty and only wishes for a reconciliation to be on TV programs because such programs were non-existent as she grew up. However, her nature and status cannot allow her to reconcile with her daughter following her upbringing from a poor and a background of struggle. This shows how Mama’s perception of reconciliation in the modern society is shaped by her poverty based background to the extent that she perceives her family’s happiness as leisure
Dee faulted her mother and for failing to provide for her fancy clothes, good education and a good life because she was poor. As Dee grew up, she was a smart and bright child who understood how the world around her operated. She wanted better education, fancy provision and a good life from her mother. She ended up having hatred towards her home, her mother and sister Maggie following these uncertainties. Mama says that, “Dee wanted nice things. A yellow organdy dress to wear to her graduation from high school; black pumps to match a green suit she’d made from an old suit somebody gave me. She was determined to stare down any disaster in her efforts. Her eyelids would not flicker for minutes at a time” (Walker, 1994). This quote implies that, the attitude Dee grew up regarding her family and the life she lived was based on background that was full of poverty. She preferred to have a better life at the cost of having and loving her own family. As a result, it is very clear that Dee, had a negative attitude towards poverty in the society was shaped by her background and she valued a wealthy lifestyle more than her family.
Summarizing the facts above, our attitudes and beliefs are strongly influenced by our background. This is proved by the fact that Mama believed that her reconciliation with Dee would be easier and simpler when it was on the television which was not there during her time. In reality, this was just but a fantasy as she was not able to reach that standard. Dee also showed an attitude towards her family, a taste of disgust owing to the fact that they were poor and could not afford a fancy living and educate her as she wished. Both these perspectives were shaped by the backgrounds that both originated from and highly impacted their belief in the society. These attitudes are also prevalent in the modern world and are evident in schools, homes and the community.
Walker, A. (1994). Everyday use. Texts and Conte.