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Symbolism In 'Everyday Use' By Alice Walker

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In the short story “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker shows the conflicts and struggles with people of the African-American culture in America. The author focuses on the members of the Johnson family, who are the main characters. In the family there are 2 daughters and a mother. The first daughter is named Maggie, who had been injured in a house fire has been living with her mom. Her older sister is Dee, who grew up with natural beauty wanted to have a better life than her mother and sister.The author used symbolism throughout the whole story to show the difference between these characters. The symbolism is there to give us a further explanation on the family and also to tell us how much heritage is important to some, but not others. The first symbol…show more content…
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!” (Walker 721) Dee can’t understand the true meaning and significance of her name, passed along through four generations; therefore she doesn’t understand the significance of the quilts.The quilts are a symbol of pride and struggle and these objects have a value that Dee will never…show more content…
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
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