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.So there are two different meaning of heritage because The two sister has a very different attitude toward their heritage. However, the truer one is Maggie’s concept of heritage because it means for her more than a shown popular fashion “things“ it means to love and connection to memories and people. “ Heritage is defined as something that is or can be inherited; such as in culture, tradition, or it can be something of importance” (dictionary.com). In Alice Walker 's short story, "Everyday Use", Dee has recently discovered her heritage, so she returns home with the goal of getting some of her mother’s possessions to put it to her new apartment in the college including the “quilt”. Dee wants to take the quilt that her mother has promised to her sister Maggie. However, before she goes to college she does not want to take the quilt with her.Mama said “I didn 't want to bring
After Wangero asks for the quilts for the first time, Mama shares that she promised to give them to Maggie at her wedding. Upset by this response, Wangero quickly attempts to convince her mother that Maggie isn't worthy of having the quilts. In paragraph 12, Wangero claims “maggie can't appreciate the quilts” and “She’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use.” She was trying to appeal to her mother's love and attachment to the quilts. She wanted to explain to her mother that if she gave maggie the quilts, they would get ruined so instead she should let Wangero have them so they could be preserved.
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,
Acosta explains that the common and little things are what make quilts special in many ways. The items that make up the quilt, have memories attached meaning. These memories can not be taught, they can only be experienced. The story, “Everyday Use” displays a mother with her two daughters in the middle of a dilemma.
Heritage; is a great value that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is of great value and although it can be worth very little to other people, to your family it is priceless. Alice Walker wrote the story, “Everyday Use”, to show an importance of Mama’s and Maggie’s heritage. There is also Dee who has that heritage too, but she thinks that they of no good use and think they are not important. Also in “Everyday Use “Mama and Maggie have Family Conflicts with Dee.
The narrator and her children feel the quilts symbolize generations of war and poverty that their family endured over the years. On the other hand, not all family members share the same appreciation for the quilts. Adopting a different culture after going to college the oldest daughter, Dee, appreciates the quilt for being part of her legacy. She can't believe that the quilt was handmade. "These are all pieces of dresses Grandma used to wear.
Ms. Johnson didn't have an education, yet she knew the value of the quilts and she didn’t let a few words from Dee change her decision of giving the quilts to Maggie. Dee leaves her mother’s house quite upset and tells her sister, “You ought to try to make something of yourself, too, Maggie. It’s really a new day for us. But from the way you and Mama still live you’d never know it” (Walker 12).
(Nancy Tuten) agrees by saying, "Mama's distaste for Dee's egotism is tempered by her desire to be respected by her daughter.” The Mom’s character changes during the quilt scene, as she realizes that Maggie shares the appreciation of culture and heritage, and Dee's appreciation is entirely different from theirs. During the quilt scene, Dee is demanding Mom to give her the quilts, and Mom says, "when I looked at her like that something hit me in the top of my head and ran down to the soles of my feet.” In other words the daughter who she has always thought so highly of knew little of their culture and had little appreciation for their heritage. Walker creates the “mom” character to help defend her point, which is the importance of upholding the values and traditions in the African American
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).
It is assumed that Maggie thought Momma would say yes to Wangero having the quilts that where going to be Maggie’s after she married. Then there is back and forth with Momma and Dee about how the quilts are priceless. Wangero tells Momma she will hang the quilts up on the wall, and that Maggie will not put them to good use and will put them to everyday use. It shows how Dee is more interested in displaying her heritage instead of living and using what her roots
In many places, respect for the heritage of all people is extremely important. Some say that one's own heritage is essential to understand where one is from and who one is from. In many cases, material objects are a gateway to ignite this sense of enlightenment. In the poem "My Mother Pieced Quilts" by Teresa Acosta and the short story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, both authors use imagery and figurative language to establish a quilt as a symbol providing an example to ignite respect for one's own heritage and to encourage one to develop their own traditions.
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.
She deliberately avoids her and her new sense of self-righteousness. Maggie's lack of exposure to society makes her weak in her sister's eyes and vulnerable to her sister's pretentious attitude toward what is owed to Maggie. Dee disturbs the peace by proclaiming, "Maggie can't appreciate these quilts!” It is clear that Dee believes that she deserves to receive whatever she wants, yet Maggie never fights for what she is already entitled
We begin this paper by questioning: What Culture is and how is it related to Heritage? Culture is people’s way of life. It is the characteristic of group of people defined by everything they possess such as language, religion, lifestyle, belief, attitude, food, rituals, customs, behavior, etc. Culture is a set of knowledge acquired overtime. Heritage, on the other hand, is the valued objects and qualities such as historic buildings and cultural traditions that have been passed own from previous generations.
Having done so, she goes on to highlight the ‘womanist’ culture. Afro-American tradition, for Mama, is symbolized by churn. It is a tradition of bonding, of mutual nurturance. Similarly, the symbol of quilt for Mama is not just a utilitarian item but a living tradition. Alice Walker, in fact, uses the imagery of the quilt to suggest what womanism is all about.