Symbolism Of Quilts In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

Good Essays
The Symbolism of Quilts in Everyday Use Alice Walker’s 1973 short story, Everyday Use, is about a rivalry between a mother and her daughter, and how they have a complicated relationship in regards to their heritage. The two characters named Mama who narrates the story and Dee who was the annoying, selfish one have a complex relationship. The issues both of them had was that Dee cares about her life and being smarter than caring about her family, and Mama became upset. Mama with the help of her sister, and mother has decided to create clothing called quilts. The quilts were handmade, used for bedding, and portrayed the artistry of the family. The quilt can symbolize different things such as family heritage, the bonds…show more content…
For example, the uniform owned by Great Grandpa Ezra when he fought in the Civil War was a part of the quilt. A blue faded piece material from his uniform was added to the quilt. The point of using the uniform was to show respect for Great Grandpa Ezra who showed bravery by fighting in the Civil War. This was a creative way of using his uniform to symbolize respect and bravery. Mama even discusses the use of “scraps from dresses that Grandma Dee had worn fifty and more years ago” (1193). Each piece of fabric represents the life and struggles of Mama’s ancestors. The quilt is a piece of history passed down from generation to generation, which embodies long lasting memories and legacy. Wangero asked, “Can I have these old quilts” (1193). Mama was not happy about the request and suggested other quilts. Mama promised the quilt to Maggie. Mama wanted to ensure the family treasure would be used for everyday purposes and not put on display. Mama’s beliefs and decisions in the story were compelling and added to the complexity of the relationships between the characters. Mama, Maggie and Dee wanted to preserve the family heritage, but in different
Get Access