As a result, she gives in to her sister’s request and tells her mom, “She can have them” (321 Walker). The quilts have a different value for each daughter. In Maggie case, “it was Grandma Dee and Big Dee who taught her how to quilt”, her mother promised her the quilts after she was married, and because they were meant to be used and appreciated. Maggie hints that she thinks of the quilts as a reminder of her aunt and grandmother when she says, “I can ‘member Grandma Dee without the quilts” (321 Walker). Dee/Wangero sees the quilts as “priceless” (320 Walker).
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
Alice Walker’s Everyday Use (rpt. in Thomas R. Arp and Greg Johnson, Perrine’s Literature Sound and Structure 11th ed [Boston: Wadsworth, 2012] 166-173) is a short story told by the mother of two daughters, Mama. The story tells the tale of the return of Mama’s oldest daughter, Dee, and the problems that Dee’s return causes for Mama and her youngest daughter, Maggie. This short story includes humor and irony, displays detailed characterization, and portrays a very effective point of view. These three literary elements contribute to this story by giving insight into the past and the true personalities of the characters, and the way the characters have changed over time.
In the first paragraph, it is already stated that the world had never learned to say no to Dee (46): her mother especially. Dee wants a dress for graduation; Mama buys it for her (49). She wants Mama’s butter churn; she obtains that too (53). Compared to Maggie, Dee is much more fashionable. She wants to use the ancient quilts, steeped in family heritage, to be put on display instead of using them as the blankets that they are (55).
In the short story, “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker uses her contrasting characters of Maggie and Dee to show a cultural split. Dee, the eldest daughter, comes home to visit her family who lives a very traditional way of life. Dee has gone to college and lives a more modernist lifestyle, whereas her sister Maggie has not gone to school and lives a more traditionalist lifestyle. This difference between the sisters shows the division in the 1960s between a traditionalist and modernist lifestyle through the characters Maggie and Dee. During the 1960s some African-Americans began to replace their birth names with names of African or Muslim descent, but what was the reason behind this change?
She moved back to Cavendish, her grandmother’s house, to take care of her grandmother. During this period, she was inspired to write stories; unfortunately, her grandmother passed away. Lucy is famous for writing books that has outstanding characters, by expressing her personality.
In this novel, Everyday Use by Alice Walker, Mama decides that she will wait in the yard for her daughter Dee’s arrival. Mama knows that her other daughter, Maggie will be nervous throughout Dee’s stay, self-conscious of her scars and burn marks and jealous of Dee’s much easier life. Maggie, the daughter at home, is shy and scared and remains by her mother's side as an obedient shadow. Her motherwhile she is not physically attractive or stylish.Dee, on the other hand is as being light skinned, and with very nice hair.By holding these quilts from Dee, Mama Johnson decides that Maggie’s practical approach to heritage is better than Dee’s superficial, impersonal concept of her new heritage. Dee and Maggie, the two sisters who want the handmade
A short story called “Everyday Use” is written by Alice Walker. The main character of the short story Mama is the narrator. It consists of a mother and her two daughters experiencing a change in their normal behavior during this story. The mother had a permanent change in character by refusing to let Dee have the quilts she was asking for. The character Mama decided that she had enough of her eldest daughter Dee(Wangero) getting whatever she wanted while her youngest daughter Maggie stood by in fear.
Twyla- Twyla is introduced at the very beginning of the story as the girl with the mom that “danced all night” (Morrison,1), she is also the Narrator and a main character. Twyla mentions her mother at the beginning of the story. Mary has neglected her daughter which is why she ends up in the orphanage. Twyla’s mother has taught her daughter to be prejudice against people of Roberta’s race saying that “they never wash their hair and they smelled funny” (Morrison,10), throughout the story some of these prejudices disappear and come about again when the two women meet again and again over long time spans. In her teen years, Twyla works at a Howard Johnson’s where she re-encounters Roberta for the first time and thinks to herself that, “She made the big girls look like nuns” (Morrison,35).
The quilts in “Everyday Use” may seem to show a heated argument about possessions between a household, but they actually show a deep cultural and racial divide and the difference in values between generations of the same family. These rifts are shown by the way each member of the family reacts to discussions of how these quilts would best be used, and the attitude each takes on the value of them. When Wangero comes to visit, she asks her mother if she can have two quilts that had been made by her grandmother and Mrs. Johnson tries to offer her machine-made quilts. Wangero does not want these quilts, indicating that she would rather have the hand-stitched quilts of her grandmother. The irony of turning down one of these quilts before she left for college is lost on Wangero.