In the short story, “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, is written in manner to inspire the reader to show them how deep some family traditions can go. Walker, in her writings, tend to talk about issues that she had experienced in her life, and being an African American, she has learned the value of certain things in her life that her parents and grandparents had taught her. The quilt is so important to Dee because it is something that tells a story of the previous generation; the quilt actually consists of pieces of material that the family once used. The issue of the quilt also sets the mood for the story. It helps the reader to understand the deep rooted power simple things can have when it comes to family relations. All this helps explains
By distinguishing the family-oriented round characters in the short story "Everyday Use", Alice Walker illustrates the common mistake of placing the association of heritage solely in material objects. Walker presents Mama and Maggie, the younger daughter, as an example that heritage in both knowledge and form passes from one generation to another through a learning and experience connection. However, by a broken connection, Dee, the older daughter, represents a misconception of heritage as materialistic. During Dee's visit to Mama and Maggie, the contrast of the characters becomes the conflict, because Dee...
Not too long ago, grandparents will tell family stories to their grandchildren. Parents will also tell their children family stories. Those family stories will contain family history, struggle and heroism of family members. Also, those stories will pass down the family values and traditions to the next generations. Now a days, most parents read stories from books to their children. Family story telling is an almost lost tradition because it is not practiced anymore. In her short story “Everyday Use”, Alice walker illustrates the importance of keeping a tradition alive other than preserving it.
In Alice Walker’s Short story “Everyday Use” a mother is conflicted between her two daughters and the families quilt. Maggie is uneducated and financial unstable, and Dee is a well-educated woman that’s embarrassed of her family. Each believing they are entitled to family inheritance. The story characterize heritage and how heritage is portaged differently between the two sister. The main characters in this story, "Mama" and Maggie are on one side, and Dee on the other, each have opposing views on the value and worth of the various items in their lives, this conflict makes the point that the substance of an object is more important than style.
Alice Walker's novel, The Color Purple, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1982. This novel, in addition to her short story collections and other novels, continue to touch the emotions of a vast audience. This ability, according to critics, has "solidified her reputation as one of the major figures in contemporary literature" (Gwynn 462). Born to sharecroppers in Eatonton, Georgia, in 1944, Alice Walker's life was not always easy. Her parents strived to provide a home at a time when political and social unrest were at their highest. According to critic Barbara Christian, "[T]hat oppression fosters a sustaining spirit that appears in Walker's writing"
The story “Everyday Use” is about three African American women in the mid 1900’s that struggle to all share the same beliefs about their heritage, and culture. This leads to conflict between the three women, and begins to separate Dee from Mama, and Maggie. The story uses quilts as a major symbol of the family’s heritage, and Dee does not understand the importance of the quilts. The quilts are what begin to reveal the conflicts between Dee, Mama, and Maggie. When the story shows these conflicts it helps to comprehend the conflict, heritage, and cultural differences between the three women.
In Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use” an object becomes the cause of conflict between Maggie and her sister Dee. The object of conflict between these two polar opposite sisters is a handmade quilt passed down from their ancestors. They both associate the quilt with their heritage but it is obvious their views on heritage are quite different. Dee, the older daughter, represents a misconception of heritage as material while to Maggie heritage is both knowledge and form which is passed down from one generation to another through learning and experiences.
Maggie is introduced as someone who was shy and walked like “a lame animal” sidling up to someone who “was ignorant enough to be kind” (156). This is partly because of her self-consciousness of the scar scattering her arms and legs. Dee, by comparison, is the picture of confidence. She walks and speaks as if the world owes her everything she ever asks for. She feels powerful for getting away from what she saw as a prison. While Maggie is humble and kind, Dee will not hesitate to demand things and is ruthless in her pursuit. At least, Dee is ruthless in her pursuits, in Mama’...
Heritage is one of the most important factors that represents where a person came from. In “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, this short story characterizes not only the symbolism of heritage, but also separates the difference between what heritage really means and what it may be portrayed as. Throughout the story, it reveals an African-American family living in small home and struggling financially. Dee is a well-educated woman who struggles to understand her family's heritage because she is embarrassed of her mother and sister, Mama and Maggie. Unlike Dee, Mama and Maggie do not have an education, but they understand and appreciate their family's background. In “Everyday Use,” the quilts, handicrafts, and Dee’s transformation helps the reader interpret that Walker exposed symbolism of heritage in two distinctive point of views.
After evaluating the short story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, I came to the conclusion that the narrator made the right choice of giving her daughter, Maggie, the family quilts. Dee (Wangero), her older sister was qualified for the quilts as well, but in my opinion Maggie is more deserving. Throughout the story, the differences between the narrator’s two daughters are shown in different ways. The older daughter, Dee (Wangero), is educated and outgoing, whereas Maggie is shy and a homebody. I agree with the narrator’s decision because of Maggie’s good intentions for the quilts and her innocent behavior. In my opinion Dee (Wangero) is partially superficial and always gets what she wants.
Alice Walkers “Everyday Use”, is a story about a family of African Americans that are faced with moral issues involving what true inheritance is and who deserves it. Two sisters and two hand stitched quilts become the center of focus for this short story. Walker paints for us the most vivid representation through a third person perspective of family values and how people from the same environment and upbringing can become different types of people.
Dee's physical beauty can be defined as one of her biggest assets. The fact that Maggie sees Dee "with a mixture of envy and awe" (409) cues the reader to Dee's favorable appearance. The simplistic way in which Walker states that "Dee is lighter than Maggie, with nicer hair and a fuller figure" (410) gives the reader the idea that Dee's beauty has made it easier for her to be accepted outside her family in society. We are left with the impression that Dee's appearance is above average. Walker plays on Dee's physical beauty to contrast the homeliness of Maggie and her mother. Walker goes so far as to describe her feet as "always neat-looking, as if God himself had shaped them with a certain style" (411). In describing Dee's feet, Walker is giving the impression of perfection from head to toe. Dee's outward beauty has "made her transition from poor farm girl to that of an educated, middle-class black woman possible" (Allen-Polley 11). Needless to say, Dee doesn't seem comfortable with her past and therefore has a difficult time accepting her future. It is as though she is not really connected with her family anymore. She simply needs them to fulfill their positions in her recreated past.
At the beginning of this story, “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, mama decides that she will wait in the garden her and Maggie made until Dee’s arrival. Mama senses that Maggie will be nervous throughout Dee’s stay because she is self conscious of her burn marks, scars and jealous that Dee has a much easier life. She mentions the television show about the child who is surprised by their own mother and father. Sometimes mama dreams that she and Dee will reunite again on a television show. Mama‘s daze was disturbed when she heard Maggie arriving in the yard. At that time mama had flashbacks about the house fire that had occurred over a decade ago, when she had to carry Maggie out, being badly burned. It always crossed mama’s mind that Dee hated
...els as though her mother favors Dee over her since Dee is getting an education, but her mother loves them both equally. Maggie may not look the best or feel completely secure about her appearance, but she knows what is important; where she has come from and her family and knows that the objects being passed on to her can be put to everyday use.
Indeed Maggie and Dee are two sisters who have turned out very differently. Maggie is awkward and unattractive, while Dee is confident and attractive. Maggie is content with her simple life, while Dee wants to have fine things. Maggie is nervous and intimidated by Dee, who is bold and selfish. Maggie values the sentiment of the family quilts, while Dee wants to display them as a symbol of her heritage. Walker has shown that children raised in the same environment can and do turn into unique individuals.