Alice Walker Heritage

829 Words4 Pages
Family Heritage

Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” is a story about a mother and her two daughters conflicting thoughts about their heritage, pride, and identities (433). The story is set in rural Georgia in 1973. Dee always got everything she wanted because Mama neglects Maggie (Walker427). Mama soon realizes this and tells Dee that she cannot get everything she wants. The setting, the climax, and theme work together to create a story that reveals the meaning of culture and family heritage. The story is set in the 1970s, at a time when many African Americans asserted their racial pride and their connections with life. After attending college and coming home Dee felt like she was better than her family members. “She’s dead,”
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Walker builds up to the climax with a series of “arguments” made by Mama and Dee. “After dinner Dee(Wangero) went to the trunk at the foot of the bed and started rifling through it” (Walker 431). Dee comes out with the quilts that were made by her grandmother, and aunt. Dee thinks that her mother is going to let her take the quilts because she’s never been told no. She quickly realizes she will not always get what she wants. “Mama,” Wangero said sweet as a bird. “Can I have these old quilts?” I heard something fall in the kitchen, and a minute later than the kitchen door slammed. “Why don’t you take one or two of the others?” I asked. “These old things was just done by me and Big Dee from some tops your grandma pieced before she died.” “No”, said Wangero. “I don’t want those. They are stitched around the borders by machine.” “That’ll make them last better, “I said. “That’s not the point, “said Wangero. “These are all pieces of dresses Grandma used to wear. “The truth is” I said, “I promised to give them quilts to Maggie, for when she marries John Thomas” (Walker 432). This is the climax or turning point of the story. With anxious, manipulative Dee goes from being calm to being angry. The narrator describes Dee as “gasped like a bee had stung her. “Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts!” (Walker 432). As Mam and Dee argue over the quilts Maggie tells Mama to give the quilts to Dee. Mama soon realizes…show more content…
Dee goes through a situation with her Mama that taught her she cannot have everything she wants, she’s confused about her inheritance. At the beginning of the story Dee demands to be called a different name rejecting her family valuing the quilts, but as the narrator describes, “I didn’t want to bring up how I offered Dee (Wangero) a quilt when she went away to college she told me they were old fashioned, out of the style” (Walker 432). The narrator is the Mama telling about the event that happened between her and her daughters. While telling it she learned that she always neglected Maggie for De, and it brought a sense of realization to herself. At the beginning Mamas tone is self-confident and proud; however, at the end of the story it changes to defensive and sarcastic. “I did something I never had done before hugged Maggie to me, then dragged her on into the room, snatched the quilts out of Miss Wangero’s hands and dumped them into Maggie’s lap” (Walker 432). Moving away from home, graduating from college showed Dee she no longer has the say so in the house. Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” is a story about a mother and her two daughters conflicting thoughts and ideas about heritage, pride, and identities (Walker 433). However, Dee had no idea that her Mama would tell her no. Through setting, climax, and theme Walker presents
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