And is it really a positive thing in all circumstance? Walker creates Dee as a selfish, unfeeling individual, who has an incredible zest for knowledge. She emphasizes her character as distinct from that of Maggie Johnson her younger sister. ”She used to read to us without pity, forcing words, lies, other folk's habits, whole lives upon us two; sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her words" (7), because of this her mother, Mrs. Johnson sends her to school in Augusta after she and the church raises the money. Dee thinks she is better than the rest, she wants to leave her family and heritage behind because she feels like they aren’t as sophisticated as she is.
She says she will hang them on her wall, and states that if her sister Maggie got them “she’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use” (Walker 162). Dee is shocked when Mama tells her she cannot have the quilts. What Dee does not understand is what the quilts symbolize. The quilts were sown from her Grandmother’s old clothes and stitched by hand. They symbolize the family’s history and represent memories they have of their grandma.
In ‘Everyday Use’ there are three amazing woman Dee (Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo), Mama Johnson, and Maggie. But Dee is way different she is totally a misrepresentation of heritage and is a beautiful young woman. Maggie and Mama Johnson have a strong representation on their heritage and still live the way they were raced. Dee comes and visits Mama and Maggie she takes some valuable things that Mama Johnson had kept. But when it gets to the point where she wants to take some quilts that Big Dee and Mama had done she starts arguing with her mother and Martinez4 her mother tells her no Maggie stayed somewhat in shock because ‘no’ was not a word Dee was used to hearing.
Another symbolism of her lack of appreciation for her heritage demonstrated through her actions is when Dee asks Mama if she can have the churn top to use it as a ce... ... middle of paper ... ...e to have them. Tradition symbolizes heritage as an important factor in their lives. Alice Walker used symbolism to convey the importance of heritage in her short story "Everyday Use," by using the sisters' actions, family items, and tradition. Dee does not appreciate her heritage like her sister and mother. She does not see the importance of family traditions.
The mother explains, “I could have carried it back before the Civil Way through the branches” (464) Dee could not understand the cultural significance of her name, the very same name that came from her loved ones and not by her oppressors. She fails to appreciate the cultural significance of the name Dee. Dee wants to appreciate her family quilts by framing them in her home, but Maggie would most likely put them to everyday use and have them in order to remember her Grandmother ... ... middle of paper ... ...monstrate how little she cares for her family culture by displaying her family quilts as decor, changing her family name, and with her new identity, she has completely left her family culture. The mother can understand Dee’s viewpoint, but that is the reason she cannot grant Dee those quilts. When Maggie displays her affection about the quilts and is willing to part with them, her mother understands that she is more deserving of the family quilts.
Walker shows that in mother and daughter relationships adaptation to change can be hard in a variety of ways. First, Dee, Mother's oldest daughter, comes home to visit her mother and little sister Maggie. When she shows up, she introduces herself as "Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo" (416). Her mother is confused about why she wants to change her name, since it was the one that was passed down. Dee explains that the other name did not suit her.
They symbol of the quilt in the story is a sisterhood, empowerment, and nature, something that Dee has failed to realize (Martin, 2104). Dee is looking for her family’s heritage and it has been there. The family heirlooms are the true tokens of their origin. Mama finally realizes that she and Maggie have embraced their true heritage through quilting and tells Dee that she cannot have them because Maggie will take it when she gets married. The situational irony in the story at the end, Dee proclaims that Mama and Maggie have no knowledge of their heritage, but it is Dee who does not understand her
Maggie is regarded as a little less brighter than her sister, but is shown to be more humble. The way Dee treats her sister, her lack of respect, and disregard for her family is too much for Mama to take and she decides gives her family heirloom to her favorite daughter, Maggie. The relationship between the two sisters is barely explored, the furthest that the story dives into the background of the two sisters is that apparently Dee used to hate Maggie. “ I used to think she hated Maggie, too. But that was before we raised money, the church and me, to send her to Augusta to school.” This may also be supported by the fact that Dee considers Maggie too barbaric to own something so fragile as a handmade quilt.
They embody the two worlds that are clashing. Dee with the new, modern, and literate woman while Maggie is more tied to her roots, family and community. Mama was excited for her daughter to visit while Maggie was nervous. Maggie was ashamed of her burn scars and was envious of her sister’s lifestyle. Maggie and Dee are opposites in many ways.
But Mama refuse to hand them down to Dee. She believes giving them to the wrong daughter is destroying something that is so special to their ancestors. To make Mama feel at peace, she made sure Maggie receive the quilts instead of Dee. The thought that Dee does not fully understand her culture is devastating because she wants the most important assets that was made by her ancestors but does not want to use it for everyday use. Moreover, Dee seems to lack respect for her mother’s ancestors.