Everyday Use By Alice Walker Analysis

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Everyday Use: What Will Your Ancestors Treasure? In the short story “Everyday Use” Alice Walker takes the reader through a world that was in the midst of a radical change. A time when new affluence was coming to a generation of African Americans. Walker’s generation knew nothing but hardships, and they had to make due with whatever they happened to have around. Therefore, many of the items which Dee and Maggie see in the course of the story have radically different meanings. Dee, having had the advantage of leaving home to go to college, had her life changed by the lifestyle she was introduced to in the city. When she came home again, her view of the items which Maggie and her mother considered as everyday use items had taken on a whole new meaning to her, she now saw them as artifacts instead of things which were useful. 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). This is a scenario that has played out many times over the course of human history. Things which have only a utilitarian value to the present generation, take on an aura of
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