Symbolism In Everyday Use By Alice White

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In her short story “Everyday Use,” Alice White focuses on a rural family and their different interpretations of the African- American heritage. The story begins when Dee, the educated older daughter, comes to visit her mama and younger sister, Maggie. The two sister are completely different physical, mentally, and emotionally. Alice White uses characterization and different types of symbolism to show the difference between Dee and Maggie’s interpretations of the African-American culture and heritage.
Alice White uses characterization to show the difference between Dee and Maggie’s interpretations of the African- American culture and heritage. For example, “Dee is lighter than Maggie, with nicer hair and a fuller figure…She was determined to stare down any disaster in
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Although there is a lot of symbolism throughout the short story. The actions and physical traits of both Dee and Maggie are very symbolic of their interpretations of their culture and heritage. For example, Maggie’s scars from the fire are evidence of her ruthless life journey, which makes her value her life, heritage, and culture even more. However, the most important symbol in the short story is the quilts, which mama promised to give to Maggie when she was married. They were “pieced by Grandma Dee and then Big Dee “(76), both people very close to Maggie and not to Dee. The quilts had a very special meaning to Mama and Maggie, that Dee did not understand;she viewed the quilts as a priceless piece of history. They were indeed pieces of history because they were made up of fragments of history, such as scraps of dresses, shirts, and uniforms of past family members, that made up the family’s culture, heritage, and value. Dee viewed these pieces of history as art; however, that was not the real case because the quilts were made up of everyday use
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