Dee starts kind of demanding for the quilts because Maggie “can’t appreciate these quilts” (Walker 16). However, Mama “snatched the quilts out of Miss Wangero’s hands and dumped them into Maggie’s lap.” (Walker 17) This was Mama’s way to standing up to Dee. She has told Dee “no” letting Dee know she is in charge. This one quote shows the conflict between the daughter and mother. A mother and daughter’s conflict in “Everyday Use” is about their heritage overall.
The title of Alice Walker’s story Everyday Use proves significant because it is used as a measurement to determine value and importance. Dee wants the churn and quilts to be pieces of decoration, while Maggie would put them to everyday use as they were intended. To Dee everyday use would devalue the churn and quilts while her mother and Maggie, see everyday use as adding value, not subtracting it. Dee’s view on things and the value of them is quite different than that of her mother and sister. Her arrival causes mixed emotions.
In the story Everyday Use, there is conflict between the two main characters Maggie and Dee. The two sisters are arguing over their Grandma 's quilt. Maggie feels that she deserves the quilt because she will cherish it and make great use out of it, unlike her sister who only wants to frame it in order to remember her heritage. Dee is not used to being told "no" and she has always got everything she has ever asked for, which is why she puts up a fight for the quilt. Dee then goes on to explain to her family on page 172, how she is changing her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo.
Dee wants to take the quilts away with her, insisting that they should be hung on the wall and preserved rather than being used. Mama, on the other hand, wants to give them to Maggie, who learned to quilt from Grandma Dee and Big Dee. Maggie and Dee have different opinions about their heritage. To Maggie, heritage is everything around her that is involved in her everyday life. Whereas, Dee believes that her mother’s family heirlooms are to frame on the wall, or display, as a reminder of her family history.
Bits and pieces of Grandpa Jarrell’s Paisley shirts. And one teeny faded blue piece, about the size of a penny matchbox, that was from Great Grandpa Ezra’s uniform that he wore in the Civil War.” (pg. 1517). When Mrs. Johnson finally tells Dee that she cannot have the quilts because they were promised to Maggie, Dee gasps and says, “Maggie Can’t appreciate these quilts! She’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use.” (pg.
This makes them both feel like their mothers don’t love them as much and don’t want to believe their mothers are gone. Sal says, “And just like Phoebe, who had waved her mother’s sweater in front of her father, I had brought a chicken in from the coop: “Would Mom leave her favorite chicken?” I demanded. “She loves this chicken.” (page 125). This shows how they are both wondering why their mother would leave them. They both feel like it is their faults that their mothers left them.
Sister tells her story in past tense, and her being a significant participant in the action may alter her memory of what actually happened. Sister points out that she is stressed out by Stella-Rondo’s sudden homecoming. She says, “There I was over the hot stove, trying to stretch two chickens over five people and a completely unexpected child into the bargain, without one moment’s notice.” The irritation of suddenly having to cook for more people than she expected may contribute to how Sister reacts to Stella-Rondo’s comments and how she recounts the incident. The stress and irritation are only added when Stella-Rondo turns Papa-Daddy against her. Sister also points out that she has to prepare the green tomato pickle since “Mama had turned both the niggers loose.” Mama shames Stella-Rondo for making such a dish that will not agree with Uncle Rondo or Shirley-T. At this point Sister feels as if she is being criticized by every family member and can not please anyone.
History shows when trying to discuss a women’s “place in society” conflict always arises. Expectations of women were always conspicuous; performing house duties. In the novel Working by Studs Terkel, Terkel describes the oral history of a woman named Theresa Carter. Mrs.Carter lives in a blue-collar neighborhood along with her loving husband and three kids. She shares her experience of being a housewife and what a typical day entails; cooking, cleaning, children, and the occasional reading.
The parents informs the way one views others and the world. In the short story “Everyday Use” By Alice Walker Dee had stated “Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts!”. (64) This quote explains and shows how Maggie and Dee’s mother influenced Dees views on others and the world. Their mother has influenced dee to believe that old clothes stitched together by their grandmother, are too important to give to maggie because “She’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use”. However others would say that peers influence the way one views others and the world also.
In the short story, “Everyday Use”, by Alice Walker, one can say that the quilts mentioned in the story symbolize heritage because the quilts were made by different generations of the family. Because of this, the reader can see that Dee views her heritage as something to be put up for display so people can admire her past, where as Maggie, views her heritage as something that is learned and teach to others. For example, when Mama tells Dee that she can’t have them, Dee says, “Well … What will you do with them? … ‘Hang them’ she said, like somebody used to never winning anything …”. As a general rule,