Dee does not respect her culture or traditions. For Dee culture and traditions are just a word rather than a heritage. Dee always want to be a center of attention at her college. Dee grabs a wooden churn, ask her mother whether she can take it. Because she wants it, she can display it as an art work in her own house. In addition, she also argues that she wants the grandma’s quilts. Dee said to her Mama, “You just will not understand. The point is these quilts, these quilts!” (Walker 400). Dee does not even know how to quilt. Dee thinks of the quilts as a display to hang in the living room. Traditional things were just some artifacts for her to show off others about her heritage. She never respects or understand the true meaning behind the quilts, this just shows ignorance in her attitude towards the ancestral things in the
Dee is a well-educated, strong, and determined woman. She is very confident about herself and feels as if she’s superior to her mother and sister because she has an education. After coming back home from college, she claims to have a better understanding of their African heritage. She comes to collect the quilts that were already promised to Maggie to display. “’Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts!’ she said. ‘she’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use’…’ what would you do with them’ Hang them… (Page 9, Faulkner).” Dee thinks she’s so well educated that she would put the quilt into better use than Maggie would. On the other hand, Maggie is a nervous, shy, kind and good hearted. She is insecure about the way she looks from the burn scars. Mama feels that Maggie’s sensitivity makes her better understand her heritage. When Dee demanded that she takes the quilt, she tells her its ok because she doesn’t need it to remember her grandma, her heritage. “I can ‘member grandma without the quilts (Page 9, Walker).” Mama had a powerful feeling upon thinking about her decision; she understood that Maggie had a better understanding of her heritage than Dee. The difference in Maggie and Dee is their personalities and their value of their
Not many people know their family’s heritage. Matters such as where their ancestors come from or what trials he or she went through are typically lost in the hands of time if not kept in check by members of the family. In Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use,” that is not the case of Mama, the narrator of the story. However, for her elder daughter, Dee, it is, nor does she particularly care to know. Dee is a woman who does everything in the name of her style. One aspect that is clear she does not think is part of her style is her family’s meager lifestyle. In fact, it is safe to say that Dee has an inability to understand the meaning of ‘heritage’.
In the beginning of the story, Dee (Wangero) is introduced as someone that needs to be impressed. The narrator has a fantasy about being reunited with Dee (Wangero) (393). She is described as being beautiful and a wonderful daughter with many good qualities. Besides being beautiful, she is confident. Instead of feeling suppressed because of the color of her skin, she is able to look people in the eye (394). Dee (Wangero) is also educated and the way she talks shows it. She is also opinionated and her family is intimidated by it. Dee’s (Wangero’s) qualities are overall good qualities to have, but I feel like she uses them to act better than her family. The fact that she had changed her name to Wangero (397) and demanded the quilts while she was visiting made me feel that she was superficial. She did not even want the quilts when they were first offered to her before she went to college (400). I do not think it is right to change your family name and then come home and request family heirlooms. Dee (Wangero) always seems to get wha...
The main objects of topic throughout the story are the quilts that symbolize the African American Woman’s history. Susan Farrell, a critic of many short stories, describes the everyday lives of African American Women by saying “weaving and sewing has often been mandatory labor, women have historically endowed their work with special meanings and significance” and have now embraced this as a part of their culture. The two quilts that Dee wanted “had been pieced together by Grandma Dee and then Big Dee and me [Mother] had hung them on the quilt frames on the front porch and quilted them” (par. 55) showing that these quilts were more valuable as memories than they were just blankets. The fabrics in the quilts “were scraps of dresses Grandma Dee had worn fifty and more years ago. Bits and pieces of Grandpa Jarrell’s paisley shirts. And one teeny faded blue piece, about the piece of a penny matchbox, that was from Great Grandpa Ezra’s uniform that he wore in the Civil War” (par. 55) putting forth more evidence that these are not just scraps, but have become pieces of family history. The q...
While reading this there were some animosity toward Dee because of what type of character she was. The animosity was caused by the numerous comments and actions that occurred in the story. She was very selfish, uneducated, and very unappreciative of where she came from. Dee carried herself in a very ridiculous way. Among Dee’s family she is the object of jealousy, awe, and agitation, meanwhile she searches for her purpose and sense of self. Dee and her judgmental nature has an effect on Mama and Maggie, her younger sister. Although she across as being arrogant and insensitive, Mama sees he strive to know more and do more. Dee also portray as being a condensing type person because no matter where Mama and Maggie lived she still kept her commitment to come and visit. When Dee comes to visit she tells Maggie and Mama that she has changed her because Dee had died when she left for college. Dee changed her name to Wangoero, which come across as being an attention seeking ploy who still keeps the selfishness of Dee. With Dee changing her name to Wangoero she wants to reclaim her heritage and honor
When Dee comes back home to visit her mother and Sister Maggie she tries to express to them in as many ways as possible how they do not understand their own heritage. Dee tries to inform her mother and sister on their heritage a little by using her grandmother’s handmade quilts before she leaves, but her mother and sister do not understand how they are so important. At the end, Dee tells her mother that she just doesn’t understand her heritage on the way out she tells Maggie “You ought to try to make something of
In “Everyday use”, the contrasting views on heritage between a mother and daughter teaches the lesson that heritage should be value for both it’s usefulness as well as its personal significance. Dee erroneously believes to be affirming her African heritage by adopting an African name and an African appearance. She did not realize that she was discarding her true African American heritage. Due part to her leaving her hometown and becoming an educated young woman, the value placed on family objects differ from the value her mother places on the same family objects. Dee misconducts her heritage as material goods as opposed to her ancestors. Mrs. Johnson makes right use of her heritage by giving use of the objects that her ancestors once made. This suggests that ones heritage is learned and passed down from our ancestors and it is not something that one puts on carelessly.
Our heritage threads through history past the people who contributed to it, to affect us on a personal level. To be fully appreciated and claimed, it must reside in the heart. Dee understands the heritage of people she doesn't know. In this way, her adopted heritage can be understood intellectually, but it is not felt, not personal, and not truly her own.
In “Everyday Use,” the quilts play an important role in depicting symbolism of heritage because they signified Dee’s family origins. For instance, Dees’ Grandma Dee, Grandpa Jarrell, and Grandpa Ezra all have pieces of their fabric sowed on to the quilt as a remembrance of who they were and their importance in the family. Nevertheless, she does not see the quilts as valuable, hand-made, pieces of fabric that need to be taken care of and used. Dee misinterprets the essential meaning of the quilts and how they were created because of her understanding to the traditional African culture she became deeply influenced. However, these quilts were a representation of Dee’s significant family members, and they were meaningful to Mama and Maggie because they understood the importance of these quilts that were so carefully sown. “They had been pieced by Grandma Dee and then Big Dee and me had hung them on the quilt frames on the front porch and quilted them” (Walker 1129). These quilts not only embraced Mama and Maggie’s family origins, but also, exemplified a profound piece of fabric...
The quilts hold a special meaning to mama because they were made out of the clothes of her past family. The using of the quilt demonstrate that mama has inherited the understanding of her heritage. Dee adopted the African culture, the name change from Dee to Wangero and the description of her when she first met mama and Maggie suggest that Dee symbolize the Black Power Movement, which becomes her identity in the story. Also apart of Dee identity was that she held herself in high esteem. “She wrote me once that no matter where we “choose” to live, she will manage to come see us, but she will never bring her friend.” Pg This shows that Dee see herself belonging to a high intellectual and social class than Mama and Maggie. Maggie scars symbolizes the hardship of African Americans unlike Maggi, Dee doesn’t have any scars which also tell the readers that Dee live a life of privilege. Dee lack of knowledge about her newly adopted African culture is equivalent to the lack of knowledge of her American culture. Walker argues the responsibility of who should define the African American culture. The responsibility shouldn’t be left to someone who possess no true identity or who is unclear about the meaning of her identity. African American must own all aspect of their heritage which includes the painful and unpleasant parts. The mother refuse to call Dee (Wangero)
Dee became disappointed and furious, that she said Maggie wasn’t going to appreciate the quilts. Dee also added that Maggie would put them in everyday use. Mama was sticking to Maggie’s side (paragraph 66). She goes on trying to tell Dee she doesn’t understand the points of the quilts. Maggie overheard the fuss, and told Mama, Dee could have the quilts; then, Mama became emotional, she hugged on Maggie and told Dee to keep one or two of the other quilts. When Dee stop ranting about the quilts, she told her mother, “You just don’t understand?” (paragraph
Dee “accepts” her culture, but in the wrong way. She feels that the quilts are only good for display, and not for “everyday use.” She 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 34) This last quote from the story shows both acceptance and adaptation. The family accepts their culture and heritage for what it is and tries to implement it into society while Dee simply adapts to the world around her and changes to what society wants her to