Despite the rejection of her family’s humbled life, Dee finds a desire in the quilt of her family’s past. Dee’s request for the quilts is far from nostalgic and she has little consideration for her sister when she asks for both antique quilts. Dee is in love with the idea of displaying her family as a display of her superiority over her ancestors and can not understand why her mother would not agree with her. The condescending attitude and request from Dee leads Maggie to feel ashamed of her life for a moment and she nearly gives the heirlooms away. “She can have them, Mama,” were the words of... ... middle of paper ... ...2784).
The quilts were pieced together by Mama, Grandma Dee, and Big Dee symbolizing a long line of relatives. The quilts made from scraps of dresses worn by Grandma Dee, Grandpa Jarrell’s Paisley shirts, and Great Grandpa Ezra’s Civil War uniform represented the family heritage and values, and had been promised to Mama to Maggie when she married. However, Dee does not understand the love put into the making of the quilts, neither does she understand the significance of the quilts as part of her family heritage. It is evident she does not understand the significance of the quilt, having been offered one when went away to college declaring them “as old-fashioned” and “out of style”. She does not care about the value of the quilts to her family, rather she sees it as a work of art, valuable as an African heritage but not as a family heirloom.
Everyday Use In the short story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, two sisters portray their contrasting family views on what they perceive to be heritage. The idea that a quilt is a part of a family's history is what the narrator is trying to point out. They aren't just parts of cloth put together to make a blanket. The quilt represents their ancestors' lives and tells a story with each individual stitch. "They had been pieced my Grandma Dee and Big Dee and me and hung them on the quilt frames on the front porch and quilted them.
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.
Dee’s knowledge of the modern world is foreign and dangerous to her mother, including “other folks’ habits” and “lies,” making Maggie and her mother feel “ignorant and trapped” because they have a different tradition of learning. Traditions established in learning reach far beyond ways of... ... middle of paper ... ...t Maggie looks at her heritage as memories of those ancestors in her past and their influence on her life (Norton 1536). She did not stand up against Dee because she knew that without the quilts she could remember the memories she had about the quilts. Maggie’s childhood was one filled with wounds; by seeing her home be burned to the ground, she is able to hold onto the good memories better than Dee can. In “Everyday Use” Alice Walker is attempting to express two conflicting beliefs heritage and their struggle of one being better than the other.
At the end of the story, she attacked her mother and Maggie because they choose to remain in old ways of thinking and living. She sees them as uneducated and worthless. In the article fight vs flight : a re-evaluation of Dee in “Everyday Use” , Alice Walker says , Dee obviously holds a central place in Mama 's world. The story opens with the line: "I will wait for her in the yard that Maggie and I made so clean and wavy yesterday afternoon" (47). I must say agree with Alice’s statement because mama use of language about Dee seems to be very harsh, but she secretly admires and has more preference towards Dee than her younger daughter
She'd probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use"(91). The fact is that Maggie will probably "put [the quilts] on the bed"(91)because she is active in her culture and views her heritage as part of her everyday life. She was severely burned as a child which left her very humble and scared to venture outside of her known world. Therefore, her culture is all she has, and she not only remembers it through the quilts but engages in her heritage by learning to make quilts. Consequently, when she is confronted by her demanding older sister she replies, "She can have them .
They symbolize the family’s history and represent memories they have of their grandma. The symbol of the quilts creates the central conflict in the story. The way each daughter treats the quilt reveals her feelings about her family’s history. Dee sees the quilts as something she can show off, hang on the wall and forget the meaning of. Maggie has been promised the quilts, but does not think that they are worth fighting for because she knows she can remember her grandma without them.
This quote is important for two reasons: the first is that Mama had done something she had never done before and that was love Maggie in the way she has tried with Dee over the course of her life. Giving the quilts to Maggie showcases the unrealized bond that Mama has with her due to how similar the two are in their beliefs/actions. The second point of significance in the quote is the author’s explicit decision to write Miss Wangero’s hands. Up until that point - after Dee stated her name as Wangero, whenever Dee was
Dee and Maggie are as different as hot and cold, but unlike Maggie, Dee has a much more superficial idea of heritage. She brings shame and agitation among her family members, but as an individual she searches for personal meaning and a stronger sense of self. Mama describes Dee as self-centered, but smart and beautiful, who sees herself as in control of her life. “She used to read to us without pity; forcing words, lies, other folks’ habits… ignorant underneath her voice. She washed us in a river of make-believe” (Walker 477).