Quilts In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

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The quilts in “Everyday Use” may seem to show a heated argument about possessions between a household, but they actually show a deep cultural and racial divide and the difference in values between generations of the same family. These rifts are shown by the way each member of the family reacts to discussions of how these quilts would best be used, and the attitude each takes on the value of them. When Wangero comes to visit, she asks her mother if she can have two quilts that had been made by her grandmother and Mrs. Johnson tries to offer her machine-made quilts. Wangero does not want these quilts, indicating that she would rather have the hand-stitched quilts of her grandmother. The irony of turning down one of these quilts before she left for college is lost on Wangero. Mrs. Johnson tries another tactic and tells her those quilts were promised to her sister Maggie, and Wangero states that Maggie cannot possibly appreciate them because she would put them to everyday use. When Mrs. Johnson hopes that Maggie will get some use out of them, Wangero is horrified at the thought of anyone using these suddenly priceless quilts. They are to be…show more content…
Johnson refuses to give the quilts to Wangero, one wonders if it was because she hated her daughter over the rejection of the family heritage, because she had found success, or if her daughter was an unlikeable character from the start. Was there a jealousy that her older daughter had found success and confidence when she would never know any, was she jealous of the confidence her daughter displayed by saying she did not have to live under the old ways anymore, or was she favoring Maggie over Wangero, since Maggie was flawed like herself? No matter whether one sides with Mrs. Johnson and Maggie on the value of the quilts, or with Wangero, the obvious schism is clear. Where one party values them because of the family connection, the other rejects that connection because it was born out of oppression and
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