Have you ever not seen eye to eye with your mother? In Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use”, we are shown how many of the choices we make and the things we value create our identity. This story focuses on two characters, mama and her daughter Dee (Wangero), who struggle to see the same way about their heritage. Dee wants the things made by her grandmother, to not admire it as an artifact, but rather to remake it. She wants to take them, and change them to match her lifestyle as it is today. She loves them for the way they look. Mama, on the other hand, views the things from her mother as artifacts. She loves the items more than how they look. She admires the quilts because of their everyday use. Transformations take place between these characters. Dee’s transformation is more external than it is internal. She shows her transformation in the way she speaks, the clothes she wears, and her judgement. Mama’s transformation is more internal. She begins to see Dee’s real thoughts, and she stands up against her. When she takes the quilts away from Dee, she doesn’t only stand up for herself, but Maggie, as
Dee always stood higher than her family, her town, her community, which made her mother and sister learn to roll with her punches. Finally, Mama says no to Dee, she takes a stand and we see the courage that the heritage and family behind mama help her take a stand and protect the family quilts for Maggie. In the end Alice Walker, author of “Everyday Use,” signifies the meaning of heritage and how it is remembered through symbolism, specifically through the making of the quilts and the courage that it brings to the
Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use” involves a conflict between two sisters and their desire for a family quilt. Each sister has a reason for wanting the quilt but Maggie deserves it more. She needs it because she will use it unlike Dee who will hang it up for others to view. Dee was being conceded when she said, “Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts,” when really, she is the one who would never appreciate them. Maggie will use the quilts “for when she marries John Thomas” as Mama said.
In the short stories we have read there have been numerous themes. The impact of tradition, the value of heritage, the importance of family, the divide between social classes, and the presence of love are all ideas that can be found in the stories we have read. Short stories have managed to encapture the importance and true meaning of life in just a few sentences by imposing on the readers themes we can all relate to. A common theme presented in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” and Toni Cade Bambara’s “The Lesson” is the power of knowledge and education.
The author also reveals Maggie through her mother's eyes and how she already was going to give Maggie the quilts. While the mom was talking to Dee she fortifies that ,"I promised to give them quilts to Maggie"(Walker 64). This depicts how the mother grasps the fact that Maggie is particularly familiar with the family's heritage and culture that surrounds the meaning of the quilt. The mother believes Maggie recognizes the quilt's importance to the family by it symbolizing the family's heritage and the pride and memories it
This new outlook on her life caused Dee to place different values on the items with which she had grown up. She wanted to take the items as things to put on display like art hanging on a wall. Dee even wanted the cherished quilts to “hang them” (Walker, 1973) instead of using them as blankets. As she saw it, to use the quilts for their original purpose would destroy them, or as she said, “Maggie would put them on the bed and in five years they 'd be in rags” (Walker, 1973).
These quilts are a ways of honoring her African American heritage and to be given these was very significant in their culture. For once Dee sees the historical background because of the stitching and material used, but doesn’t find any use in using them. Dee is going to try and convince her mom to let her keep the quilts, when Dee says, “Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts!” (Walker 721) and “You just will not understand. The point these quilts, these quilts!”
Another way Walker shows how Dee is hateful is when she wants her mom to be something she is not. "In real life I am a large, big boned woman, with strong, man looking hands" (60). The imagery in this quote shows how the mother feels about herself and this is not what Dee wants her to look or be like. The poem and short story use both, figurative language and imagery to reveal the quilt as a symbol for a mother's love and family heritage. Acosta shows how the quilts have love built into them.
“the quilts are the central symbol of the story representing the connectedness of history and intergenerational tries of the family” (“everyday use”). This means that the quilts mean heritage and remind the daughters of grand mom dee. The quilts are fought over at the end of the story because of the meaning of them. One daughter wants them for everyday use and one wants them just to have them because it means heritage to her. The mother at the end of the story agrees that they should be used for everyday use.
The intriguing texts, “My Mother Pieced Quilts” by Teresa Palomo Acosta, and “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker contain two main ideas that explain how everyone’s culture has a direct influence on the way that we view the world. In other words, each of our backgrounds are full of experiences and knowledge, and we use what we know in every aspect in life. Specifically, Acosta expressed in her poem, “... how the thread darted in and out / galloping along the frayed edges, tucking them in / as you did us at night.” This passage is suggesting when the author remembers her mother mother making quilts, she remembers the memories that she associated with the quilts, making the quilts have a special meaning to her and her culture growing up. Additionally, Walker had a similar idea in her narrative about quilts but she includes another example where she writes,”...
Everyday Use Literary Analysis “Maggie will be nervous until her sister goes. ”(Pg.50 line7) This is quote from the story Everyday Use by Alice Walker. The story revolves around a girl called Dee, her mom and sister Maggie. They have different opinions on different subjects especially relating to heritage.
In the short story” Everyday Use” by Alice Walker who tells a story about black women who have two daughters Maggie and Dee. She has to have the decision to give the quilts of one of her two daughters. Dee her oldest daughter who has been away at college and comes to visit her family and she wants the quilts as popular fashion and show them as part of their heritage. Maggie, her youngest daughter, who lives with her mother at home and understands the family tradition and heritage.her mother has been promised to give the quilts for her. The quilts mean for Maggie communication with family and culture.
Conflict fuels most relationships through tough times. In the story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, the characters of Mama and Dee have a stressful conflict placed upon their relationship. Mama was raised upon the philosophy that strong work can achieve anything, while Dee was raised in a more educated environment than Mama. This causes a conflict, which causes trouble in their relationship, showing that conflict has a negative impact on relationships. One conflict that takes place happens when Dee arrives home from college.