“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 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.
This also influenced the barrier between Dee and her family in which they have different ways of interpreting their values. According to Mama, Dee “never taken a shot without mak’ing sure the house is included” which portrays how dee is using them as a product for her own heritage while still maintaining a barrier between them. Also since Dee was raised having “nice things” she never wanted to recognize her past as growing up in a poverty setting because she was embarrassed of it. When Dee changed her name to “ Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo” she believed she was staying true to her heritage by having an African name, but she failed to realize her real name ‘Dee’ was passed down several generations back to when her family were slaves. Dee has changed her clothing as well to fit her new beliefs and it is the traditional African clothing which Mama finds peculiar because that was not how she raised her daughters.
Christine Kerr states “The mother narrator reminisces how Dee always “wanted nice things” even as a tennager.” Throughout Everyday Use, Dee shows a pattern of wanting things, such as her heritage to be shown. This is why Dee changes her last name. Christine Kerr demonstrates how Dee has more than one perspective on things within her family. For example, Dee wants the quilts not just because she thinks her mother and sister don't use them properly, but because she wants to show her heritage, and to own something nicer and maybe has more
This exemplifies to the readers that through the mother's eyes, Maggie was so extremely upset that Dee was once again going to win by taking the quilts because Maggie truly understands the meaning of the quilts and deserves to not be defeated by Dee. 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
The accentuation on the physical qualities of the yard or their extended living room, the pleasure in it points to the attachment that Mrs. Johnson as the narrator and Maggie have to their home and to the everyday routine of their lives. The narrator being aware of her standing and culture is also aware with her daughters’ characters despite of their differences. Mama describes herself as “a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands. In the winter I wear flannel nightgowns to bed and overalls during the day. Both Mrs. Johnson and her daughter Maggie are acquainted with their traditions and honors their ancestors while her other daughter Dee is quite the opposite and more fortunate to be educated.
The quilt’s variety of colours conveys a link between the narrator’s multicultural family as well background. This idea is conveyed in lines fifteen through seventeen, “Six Van Dyke brown squares.. Mama’s cheeks.” Additionally, the colours of the quilt also play a role in being symbolism of the narrator’s family characteristics and love, such as in lines thirty-nine through forty, “of my father’s burnt umber pride, my mother’s ochre gentleness.” This concept is further presented in lines twenty-five and twenty-six, “Among her yellow sisters, their grandfather’s white family.” In lines eighteen through twenty, “Each square holds a sweet gum leaf.. Me into the silence,” the sweet gum leaf is symbolism for nostalgia. In a sense as well, the diction “caress me into the silence,” is symbolism for death in which the narrator is described still to remain
Dee waned to take the butter churn and use it as decoration in her house however Maggie and Mama’s life depend on the butter churn since they actually use it. “This churn is what I need…artistic to do with the dasher.”(Pg.57, lines 191-201) This shows how much Dee didn’t even know where did the churn come from which shows her ignorance about her own family and she didn’t know its real value but she just wanted it for decoration. Another thing that made the conflict more intense is how Dee considered the butter churn hers without her mother telling her to take it. “When she finished wrapping the dasher the handle stuck out.”(Pg.57, line202) This elaborates that Dee already considered the butter churn her property and already wrapped it to take it home being inconsiderate to whether her mother and sister actually use it. Dee showed a prodigious amount of selfishness during this conflict, which only made it worse for her family but in the end she didn’t take
Mama was not happy about the request and suggested other quilts. Mama promised the quilt to Maggie. Mama wanted to ensure the family treasure would be used for everyday purposes and not put on display. Mama’s beliefs and decisions in the story were compelling and added to the complexity of the relationships between the characters. Mama, Maggie and Dee wanted to preserve the family heritage, but in different
“Because they never understand Black love is Black wealth” (Line 22), proving that although people judge about the welfare of black people, all that is needed is love and that is enough. She then ends the poem with “ I really hope no white person ever has the cause to write about me” (Line 21), which in her mind she thought you wouldn’t understand the culture and how you could be happy in that environment if you weren’t there. People usually imagine black families impoverished, upset, or angry, but with this poem she explains that she had a family that was nothing like that and her family’s love made her childhood great. Nikki Giovanni said a lot more than she wrote in this poem, by showing the flip side to what everybody thinks is a horrible lifestyle to live in. She explains that her parents had love for her, even though they had their own problems.
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.
Another way to say, “Look at me”. Conversely, not only does the traditional aspect of these items mean a great deal to Dee, but they are necessary for Mrs. Johnson and Maggie’s everyday life, they are not in a position use appliances for decoration. This same point applies for when Dee goes into Mrs. Johnsons trunk and finds two quilts that Mrs. Johnson had promised to pass down to Maggie. These quilts had a great deal of historical and traditional value to Mrs. Johnson – her grandmother and aunt had quilted them by hand, they were even made from “scraps of dresses Grandma Dee had worn fifty and more years ago. Bits and pieces of Grandpa Jarrell’s Paisley shirts.
Her name was special and she changed it for a name that really has no meaning she even got that wrong because it means nothing. Social class changes a person into something that isn’t always good. Dee went to the extreme end of the line, instead of trying to help people like her mother and sister slowly go into society she throws it all
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,
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.