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      时间:2017-10-01 来源:英语广场

        【Abstract】Alice Walker’s Everyday Use has been regarded as the best of Walker’s short stories. In Everyday use, the conflict between Dee and Maggie that who deserves to have the quilts climaxes the story, which shows two different methods for marginal cultural protection and inheritance. Dee wants to hang the quilts, which means traditions should be introduced to museums and shown to the whole world. Maggie pursues the utilitarian value, which means popularizing traditions. In other words, there are two principles in flourishing marginal culture. One is “Going Out”, the other one is “Popularizing”.
        【Key words】African-American culture; quilts; going out; popularizing; marginal culture
        【关键词】非裔美国文化 被子 走出去 大众化 边际文化
        In their mother’s narration, there are many pejorative words to describe Dee, such as her “ignorant voice”, “scalding humor”, “long pigtails that rope about like small lizards”, and so on, and Dee changes her name, haircut and dressing style to follow African style, and collects many traditional African-American daily necessities only for decoration. Thus, these characteristics and behaviors leave a bad impression to readers—Dee is a shallow person, only has a superficial understanding of African tradition. In contrast, considering Maggie being timid, plain and wooden and having good skill in quilting, readers and their mother are prone to show sympathy. Therefore, readers take it for granted that Maggie deserve to have the quilts.
        1. The Justification for Dee’s Inheritance
        However, does Dee really do not deserve to have the quilts? Her mother in the story refers that once when she offered Dee a quilt in university, Dee told her they were old-fashioned, out of style, but now Dee wants to have and hang them.(張汉熙,外语教学与研究出版社2011年6月第3版,133页) We can see the change from the two attitudes. If Dee really does not understand the meaning of quilts, she would still look down upon them, instead of hanging them. So, what change Dee’s attitude?
        There are two main factors leading to the change. The first one is education. Dee is the only person receiving education and the only person whose thought is influenced by the American culture in her family. In Jacques Lacan’s critical reinterpretation of the work of Freud, he proposes that human infants pass through a stage—Mirror Stage in which an external image of the body produces a psychic response that give rise to the mental representation of an “I”. Similarly, a nation’s self-awareness and cultural identity are formed and developed by communicating, conflicting, and integrating with other cultures(张德明,《外国文学评论》2001年第3期,第12页). When Dee receives education in the big melting pot, the culture shock confuses her, so she begins to find some signs that symbolize African culture. She changes her haircut, dressing style, even her name. She wants to hang the quilts for showing people the African culture that is a necessary part of American culture and for reminding herself to be proud of her African-American identity.