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,”... you could see where thumbs
Take Aunt Dice and Mama, for example. They are well bonded and we can tell this because of the quilts they made together. Dee and Maggie on the other hand, are opposites. No words are said between them. But, between Mama and Dee, readers can tell that they have a bad relationship, because Dee has no idea on where she or her family came from.The quilts are the main symbol for the reason that each character has different views on them and their meaning, just like the readers.Near the end, the mother needs to choose whom to give the quilts to, to keep. Both of them have quilts with opposite views on what their use will be. Dee only wants to just hang them up, while Maggie wants to appreciate their appearance. I conclude that Alice Walker wanted Maggie to have the quilts because she thinks would actually mean something. As she looks at her quilts, Mama remembers that a certain patch came from her grandfather's paisley shirts, that some pieces came from dresses that Grandma Dee wore 50 years earlier, and even that there was a very small piece of her great-grandfather's Civil War uniform. From this, we can all see how and why they mean so much to her. To Dee, the quilts are a quaint "primitive" art. To Mama and Maggie, they represent more than that. They are family memories, very personal and very special mementos of loved ones who are gone. To Mama and Maggie, they represent more than that. They are
“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. “Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts! She said. “she’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use.” (walker). This shows that dee really wants the quilts but not for the reason her mother wants. Mrs. Johnson ends up giving Maggie the quilts for the right
Family memories not only hold us together during the tough times but also provide a foundation especially when enhanced by a mother's love. Some people are able to appreciate their family heritage, while others do not recognize or take it for granted. In the poem "My Mother Pieced Quilts" by Teresa Acosta and the short story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, both authors use figurative language and imagery to establish the quilt as a symbol for a mother's love and respecting family heritage to illustrate their themes.
One of the main conflicts in Everyday Use is the quilt incident. The conflict started when Wangero (Dee) came out with two quilts that had been pieced by Grandma Dee and big Dee. (Pg.57, lines 210-211) It is considered one of the main conflicts because of how valuable the quilts are to Maggie and
In “Everyday Use,” two sister Dee and Maggie have different views on how they should preserve and honor their heritage. The story is told from the point of view of their mother, Ms. Johnson, and it is from her that we learn about the difference in the sister’s characters. Dee, who changes her name to Wangero, is outspoken and is the educated sister. Maggie is shy and appears to be ashamed of the burns on her skin. “[Maggie] thinks her sister has held life always in the palm of one hand, that ‘no’ is a word the world would never learn to say to her” (Walker 6). This is important because, in the end, Dee does not get her way. Dee is the educated
“Dee” does not share in the recognition and reverence of their culture even though her mother does. She describes this type of culture as a fragile heritage and she points out the aspect of clothing and design as a reason. She considers the dress code by her grandfather and mother an outdated mode of living. Dee wants to go by the current standards of life and she cannot have a second thought about this. Being an African American she comes out strongly to condemn the oppression that the blacks underwent in the hands of the whites. She makes this factor a pillar for her argument saying that she cannot be identified with a name that originates from people who oppressed them and still oppress them. In other words, Dee is speaking from a vengeance point of view, “I couldn’t bare it any longer, being named after people who oppress me” (Everyday use p.53) and via this she now helps us to understand the reason as to why she dropped her original name and took another. This step seems satisfactory for her but in real sense it is betrayal to her own heritage, we can say that she is fighting a lost battle. Walker (1973) gives Dee a character that is full of ignorance and arrogance and by doing so she is able to achieve the theme of betrayal of heritage. Through displaying her arrogance and ignorance betrayal is then brought out clearly right from the family level and even the church which ensured became a better person in the future. This has brought a conflict between her, the mother and her sister because she sees them as enemies of her progress and yet they are the people who pioneered her future life by ensuring that they use every means possible to ensure that she is in school. The use of rhetorical question by Walker (1973) enables us to comprehend her major concern while writing this short story, “Who shall inherit the quilts?” (Walker 1973) this question shows that the
The family leads a hard working, simple and minimalistic life that allows them just enough to get by. Mama is described as a “large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands” (Walker 418). Her day to day life doesn’t allow for the high standards of her eldest daughter Dee. Dee is described by Mama as being unappreciative and bratty. Mama makes is clear that the family’s socioeconomic status would never be good enough for the eldest daughter. Walker’s inclusion of Dee’s attempt to burn down the family home is a great demonstration of how the physical landscape of a character can affect their mental
Alice Walker’s Everyday Use (rpt. in Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson, Perrine’s Literature Sound and Structure 11th ed [Boston: Wadsworth, 2012] 166-173) is a short story told by the mother of two daughters, Mama. The story tells the tale of the return of Mama’s oldest daughter, Dee, and the problems that Dee’s return causes for Mama and her youngest daughter, Maggie. This short story includes humor and irony, displays detailed characterization, and portrays a very effective point of view. These three literary elements contribute to this story by giving insight into the past and the true personalities of the characters, and the way the characters have changed over time.
A simple powerful story of a rural family that contains a returned changed daughter leaves a family in surprise. “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker demonstrates that the theme of the story that consists different views of heritage by using literary elements like characterization, imagery, and settings. Each literary element holds a strong value to define the meaning of heritage from different perspectives of the characters. Alice Walker demonstrates it by Mama, Maggie, and Dee by how they each value their heritage by the things that they have left from their ancestors.
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.So there are two different meaning of heritage because The two sister has a very different attitude toward their heritage. However, the truer one is Maggie’s concept of heritage because it means for her more than a shown popular fashion “things“ it means to love and connection to memories and people.
The mom begins the story by talking about her daughters. She sees Dee as the prettier and the smarter daughter. The mom says that “No is a word the world never learned to her”. The mom says this because Dee is spoiled and always gets what she wants. . Mom knows that Dee has irregular ways and is not necessarily like her or Maggie, but she in some ways looks up to Dee and longs for Dee to accept her. (Nancy Tuten) agrees by saying, "Mama's distaste for Dee's egotism is tempered by her desire to be respected by her daughter.” The Mom’s character changes during the quilt scene, as she realizes that Maggie shares the appreciation of culture and heritage, and Dee's appreciation is entirely different from theirs. During the quilt scene, Dee is demanding Mom to give her the quilts, and Mom says, "when I looked at her like that something hit me in the top of my head and ran down to the soles of my feet.” In other words the daughter who she has always thought so highly of knew little of their culture and had little appreciation for their heritage. Walker creates the “mom” character to help defend her point, which is the importance of upholding the values and traditions in the African American
A relationship between a mother and a daughter is very difficult to maintain. In the story of "Everyday Use", Mama tells her story of her two different daughters. She explains the dissimilarity of Dee, the oldest daughter who is in college and Maggie, the daughter who remains at home. She tells the story of her two daughters while waiting for Dee 's arrival from college. She describes how different they are and in their storytelling, you can tell their differences. Dee has broken away from her family and has adopted a life on her own, even having a partner by the name of Hakeem-a-barber and changing her name from Dee to Wangero, even though she was named after her Aunt Dee. Dee forgot about her culture and wants the family quilt for the having it as part of the trend. Maggie
Family can occupy strong roots dating back generations with steadfast traditions that appreciate true meaning and personal endearment to family members. The character Dee represented in Walker 's story shows how easily one can completely depersonalize heritage while showing mannerisms of condescending nature. Dee’s name was in fact passed down from her grandmother and given to her as a symbol of respect for family and fondness for their grandmother. Dee completely oblivious to the nature of her given name simply changes it to what she believes is her authentic African name. “No, Mama,” she says, “Not Dee; Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo!”(492). Displaying the name in boastful temperament and parading it in front of her mother and sister. A lack of sense of self and empathy, Dee’s characterization represents a search for
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