English 112

Two brothers are walking down a deserted dirt road, headed to the future. A cardinal rests on the shoulder of one as they travel down this barren road; he has a secret to tell. Unfortunately the brother can not tell another soul, he agrees and the cardinal proceeds to tell his secret. "Upon your journey there is a fork in the road, the road to the left is a place where all of your fantasies will be satisfied. Follow this road and you will surely be pleased, but do not forget this secret is not to be told to another soul."
The two brothers continued down the road and seemingly came to the fork that the cardinal said would be there. The younger brother wanted to go to the right because the rest of the family had already headed down that road, but the older brother...
In this essay I will take characters from different stories and place them in the older brother\'s shoes to see how strong their family values are. I will back up my theory, on how they would react, by using examples of their reactions from their story. The short stories I will be using are "Everyday Use" and "The Greatest Man in the World".
"Everyday Use" is authored by Alice Walker. This story is about a black family, which lives in a shack-like house on a farm. The oldest daughter, Dee, left for college with feelings of dislike for her family. The story is about her return and how she has changed. Dee now acts as if she loves her family, but her strongest feelings are for her African background and against those of the Caucasian kind. She makes this aware by changing her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo. She did this because she "couldn\'t bear it any longer being named after the people who oppress me."(Walker, 271)
Now where are her loyalties? If she is the brother, knowing of the secret, which road does she follow? I believe that Wangero would choose to follow the cardinal\'s instructions to her "Promised Land". Wangero has stronger feelings toward her culture than her family, in Wangero\'s case she would not follow her sister and would choose to live a life in a land where the Black Race was in control. She is blind to see that her family is part of her culture and is more important than anything is, including a quilt.
Although Dee did not have a strong enough love of her family, her sister Maggie did. Maggie loved her mother and sister dearly. When the issue of Dee wanting the quilts came up, Dee was very negative towards Maggie but Maggie responded to her mother with "She can have them, Mama"(Walker, 272). A small sacrifice but Maggie was willing to give up the quilt to make her sister happy. This is why I am sure that Maggie would not go down the road to the left, she would follow her sister to the right because family is more important to her than anything else. Staying with family is eternal happiness to Maggie and should be to anyone with good family values.
James Thurber wrote "The Greatest Man in the World" in 1935. The story is about a pilot from Westfield, Iowa named Jack Smurch. Smurch accomplished what was believed as impossible and flew around the world by himself. The people of the world made him out to be a hero that he was not. He cared for nobody except for himself. All that Jack wanted was to be rich and famous. His mother\'s feelings for him expressed how he had felt for his family. When asked what she thought of Jack\'s flight she replied "Ah, the hell with him; I hope he drowns"(Thurber, 240). Statements similar to these throughout the story lead me to believe that Jack would not have thought twice about following the other brother down the wrong road. Actually Jack may have ran ahead of the brother in order to assure that he was the only one to go to the left and have his fantasies fulfilled.
I believe that these two stories are a reflection of our time and the times in which they were written. I was raised in