Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” is about a family of three women who have a weak relationship due to jealousy, burdens, and insensitivity. The characters are the narrator, Mama, Maggie, and her eldest daughter, Dee. The setting is the Deep South in the early 1970s. Dee, the antagonist, comes back home to pick up a few items she wants for her new home and wants the quilts Mama’s family has passed down for years, but Mama refuses. Dee believes her family is not intelligent enough to understand their family heritage and thinks she would be better off with the quilts and use them as an art piece.
When Mama won't let her have the quilts to display, she becomes furious. She claims that Mama and Maggie don't understand their heritage,but she is the one overlooking the important aspects of her family history. The conflict is in the different points of view regarding the value and importance of objects, preservation of history and everyday use. Mrs Johnson and Maggie have a different
It is the Mrs. Johnson, her mother, whose egoism and narrow mind does not allow her to see that her daughter's actions do not arise not from Dee’s desire to separate herself from her origins, but from the desire to succeed in life.
Family, a word that is generally used to describe people who are related to one another or is used to refer to close friends, is not what Maggie and Dee (Wangero) would call each other. To be family, you must care about each other, and in the story, Everyday Use, written by Alice Walker, there is no such connection between the two sisters. Walker sets the mood of the story by placing us in a home lived in by Maggie and her mother as they wait on the porch for Maggie’s sister Dee to arrive. Maggie is tense, standing there with the scars all over her body that were caused by the house fire just about ten years ago.
This was one of the reasons that drove Moody to succeed in her academic achievement and go against her mother wishes and get involved in civil rights movements. For moody, her mother was a reminder of what her future would be if she didn’t thrive for change in her community. After becoming an active member of the NAACP, Toosweet used to get threats from local sheriff that moody must not return to
Ruth shows her kids that they need to work with their problems rather than push them away, like Beth did. An example, of how Ruth felt about when she was discriminated but there is nothing she could do but to life with it, “She couldn’t stand racists of either color” (Chpt. 4, p.
Some members of the family do not understand the meaning of family heritage and get lost in having "newer and nicer things," rather than having heirlooms passed down to them from earlier generations. Maggie and Dee differ from the reasons that they want the quilts. The only similarity they share is the desire to own the quilts. Maggie has always thought that Mama would hand the quilts down to her when it comes times; Dee decides that the quilts will only be taken care of if they are in her possession. Being the humble and quiet person she is, Maggie tells Mama to give the quilts to Dee.
This prominent incident has lead Adah to establish a clinical yet indifferent attitude towards relationships and this mindset persists throughout her entire life. This conviction is further reinforced by the “ant tide” incident in which Adah was deemed to be of lesser value to her mother Orleanna Price. Adah's distraught emotions are clearly felt as she states, “ help me”(305). Adah’s first words to her mother yet she was “left behind”(306). Her mother as everyone else has viewed Adah a lesser than those who are able body or whole.
The Two sisters are raised the exact same way, but have two different effects on the way they want to express their now different cultures. Maggie wanted to express her culture in the way that her mother taught it, but Dee wanted to express her culture differently because she wasn’t appreciative of the one she was raised in. Dee was not happy with the farm life; she chose the city life over it. Her family ashamed her as she explains that she changed her name, “I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me.” (Walker 63).
But to Mama these quilts hold a significance importance and have more practical use to it than giving it to Dee. On the other hand, Maggie and Mama shares the same value and hold the same culture that been passing downed to them by their family. We can see that Mama is closed with Maggie more than Dee, as Dee was away, and Maggie did not changed her name and take on another new culture. Mama and Maggie are now the gatekeeper of the culture that been passed down to her, and she rejected and mad at Dee for her rejection of this
Mama describes herself as a big-boned woman with hands that are rough from years of physical labor. She wears overalls and has been both mother and father to her two daughters. Poor and uneducated, she was not given the opportunity to break out of her rural life. She doesn’t understand Dee’s life, and this failure to understand leads her to distrust Dee. Mama sees Dee’s life as a rejection of her family and her origins.
have the luxury of affording things just to collect dust as decorations. Everything that she owned growing up was put to every day use. This also contradicts Dee’s desire to own things that will make her new home look fancy. All of these small personality differences cause the disagreement about respecting their heritage because it causes them to have different out looks on their heritage. Dee thinks that just because something has been used before, it should be known as priceless.