Quilt Essay Family memories not only hold us together during the tough times but also provide a foundation especially when enhanced by a mother's love. Some people are able to appreciate their family heritage, while others do not recognize or take it for granted. In the poem "My Mother Pieced Quilts" by Teresa Acosta and the short story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, both authors use figurative language and imagery to establish the quilt as a symbol for a mother's love and respecting family heritage to illustrate their themes. In her poem Teresa Acosta displays the quilt as a symbol for the mother's love.
The intriguing texts, “My Mother Pieced Quilts” by Teresa Palomo Acosta, and “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker contain two main ideas that explain how everyone’s culture has a direct influence on the way that we view the world. In other words, each of our backgrounds are full of experiences and knowledge, and we use what we know in every aspect in life. Specifically, Acosta expressed in her poem, “... how the thread darted in and out / galloping along the frayed edges, tucking them in / as you did us at night.” This passage is suggesting when the author remembers her mother mother making quilts, she remembers the memories that she associated with the quilts, making the quilts have a special meaning to her and her culture growing up. Additionally, Walker had a similar idea in her narrative about quilts but she includes another example where she writes,”... you could see where thumbs
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.
The poem, “The Century Quilt”, by Sarah Mary Taylor demonstrates the meaning of The Century Quilt through the use of tone, imagery and symbolism. This complex quilt has a way of bringing family together through means of remembrance, as the quilt will be passed on and on. Symbolism in this poem is most prominent in the title itself. “The Century Quilt” makes its implication of being passed on by the word, century. A century is a long period of time and within that time period the quilt will have been passed down through means of connecting with family.
The leaves on the quilt likely represent the leaves, or the people, of a family tree. The quilt itself is like the tree and the stitching and mashing together of the sections of the quilt are like the trunk and branches, connecting the family together. The love and respect with which she treats the quilt as well as the immortality she assigns to it (“The Century Quilt” and “each square holds a sweet gum leaf”) show the importance the speaker places on family. With this, the speaker is implying that family is forever, and your familial identity is just as, if not more, important than any other label the world assigns to you.
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.
“the quilts are the central symbol of the story representing the connectedness of history and intergenerational tries of the family” (“everyday use”). This means that the quilts mean heritage and remind the daughters of grand mom dee. The quilts are fought over at the end of the story because of the meaning of them. One daughter wants them for everyday use and one wants them just to have them because it means heritage to her. The mother at the end of the story agrees that they should be used for everyday use.
This new outlook on her life caused Dee to place different values on the items with which she had grown up. She wanted to take the items as things to put on display like art hanging on a wall. Dee even wanted the cherished quilts to “hang them” (Walker, 1973) instead of using them as blankets. As she saw it, to use the quilts for their original purpose would destroy them, or as she said, “Maggie would put them on the bed and in five years they 'd be in rags” (Walker, 1973).
Furthermore, Sarnowski acknowledges mother’s disappointment as Maggie gives up the quilts, pointing out that they represent memories of family members. The author believes that displaying these quilts will disintegrate the sense of family history they carry. Consequently,
Everyone's culture is different, that's why the majority of people have different opinions on certain subjects. Even though everyone goes through different experiences, the way they were taught growing up effects how they will be in the future. One's culture has a very big impact on how they view others and the world.
In Marilyn Nelson Waniek's "The Century Quilt" there is a diverse and loving home, and a sure symbol of generations of a family and childhood within the blanket. Through warm imagery and reminiscent tone, the measure of this quilt to Waniek's life is illustrated as a profound connection and admiration of her family and a nostalgic escape. The color illuminated imagery draws a relationship between family and love through the quilt. "
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.
Annotated Bibliography Baker, Houston A., and Charlotte Pierce-Baker. " Patches: Quilts and Community in Alice Walker's" Everyday Use". " The Southern Review 21.3 (1985): 706. The two writers use symbolism to convey the message in that it is an indication of fullness to stand as a sign of condemnation or rather the act of judging, the quilter patch is a fragment. A patch may have the capability of a showing off some level poverty.
The quilt’s variety of colours conveys a link between the narrator’s multicultural family as well background. This idea is conveyed in lines fifteen through seventeen, “Six Van Dyke brown squares.. Mama’s cheeks.” Additionally, the colours of the quilt also play a role in being symbolism of the narrator’s family characteristics and love, such as in lines thirty-nine through forty, “of my father’s burnt umber pride, my mother’s ochre gentleness.” This concept is further presented in lines twenty-five and twenty-six, “Among her yellow sisters, their grandfather’s white family.”