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. Dee is asking for the quilts to pay “homage” to her heritage. But she is also stripping this heritage from her sister by taking the quilts. Maggie is the sister who never derived from her home and true culture where the quilt was fabricated. Instead of
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
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.
Dee and Maggie’s behavior did not change throughout the story, but Mama’s attitude proves to be drastically transformed by the end. As Dee is introduced towards the beginning, the author implies that Maggie thinks “her sister has held life always in the palm of one hand, that ‘no’ is a word the world never learned to say to her”. However, while Dee and Mama argue over the quilts, Mama claims, “I did something I never had done before: hugged maggie to me, then dragged her on into the room, snatched the quilts out of Miss Wangero’s hands”. This action from Mama distinctly epitomizes her denial towards Dee. Mama’s rejection perfectly exemplifies her change, because in retrospect, Dee is portrayed as a girl who never had to think twice about
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.
Ms. Johnson didn't have an education, yet she knew the value of the quilts and she didn’t let a few words from Dee change her decision of giving the quilts to Maggie. Dee leaves her mother’s house quite upset and tells her sister, “You ought to try to make something of yourself, too, Maggie. It’s really a new day for us. But from the way you and Mama still live you’d never know it” (Walker 12).
While Dee is asking for the quilts, her mom remembers a time when she offered Dee the quilts before leaving and she replied ," They were old-fashioned, out of style"(Walker 64). This allows the reader to acknowledge that Dee does not fully comprehend the true meaning of the quilts, viewing the quilt as if it was just another object in the world. Later in the story, Maggie becomes upset when Dee was about to take the quilts. The author illustrates Maggie putting snuff in her bottom lip giving ," her face a kind of dopey, hangdog look"(Walker 65). 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.
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!”
The comparison of characters is something an author allows us to do while reading a
Professor Joe Sarnowski’s academic journal criticizes the characters of the story, “Every Day Use”. He examines the conflict between the mother and her oldest daughter, Dee. Sarnowski asserts that Dee is trying to justify her personal gain, since she cherishes the economic value of the quilts more than that of the heritage they represent. The author continues to compare Dee’s ego with that of her sister Maggie. Who in contrast, has true appreciation for her heritage.
Dee is a girl who lived with her mom and her sister Maggie, but she wasn’t like them at all, she was different than her sister and her mother. Mama was collecting money to take Dee to school in Augusta. Dee liked to be fashionable, she always wanted nice things.
This point of view contributes to this story is multiple ways. Mama narrating this story helps to give the reader insight into the past of the characters. Mama was there for everything that happened in the lives of her two daughters, Dee and Maggie. She knows their personalities and how they feel about their heritage and lives. As a result of Mama’s knowledge of these important details, Mama is able to add a contrast between the past and the present.
In the movie Everyday Use by Alice walker Dee comes home and acts like she has a completely different culture than her mother and her sister Maggie. Dee says “No, Mama,” she says “Not Dee, Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo”. (Everyday Use 61) . Dee says “Hang them” (Everyday Use). Referring to the quilts she yells at her mom because she think that Maggie will actually use them and ruin them.
Maggie In Alice Walker's Everyday Use, the use of a flamboyant and downright abrasive character as Dee helps to portray the serious effects of a lack of exposure to society in the quiet and passive demeanor of Maggie. Maggie's isolation from the riches of society in the world offers a stark contrast with her sister, Dee. Where Dee is ostentatious and loud, Maggie is almost silent and shies away from any flux of social activity. She's is repeatedly skittish