Tradition is huge in small towns and families and allows for unity through shared values, stories, and goals from one generation to the next. Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” carries that theme of tradition. The story follows a small town that performs the tradition of holding an annual lottery in which the winner gets stoned to death. It (tradition) is valued amongst human societies around the world, but the refusal of the villagers in “The Lottery” to let go of a terrifying long-lasting tradition suggests the negative consequences of blindly following these traditions such as violence and hypocrisy.
In Alice Walker’s story “Everyday Use,” symbolism, allegory, and myth stand out when thinking about the characters, setting, and conflict in the story. The conflict is between the mother and her two daughters (Maggie and Dee). There is also the conflict between the family’s heritage (symbolized by the quilt, bench, and butter chum) and their different ways of life. Dee chose a new African name, moved to the city, and adopted a new way of life while Maggie and her mother have stay behind. The quilt (the most important symbol) represents the family’s heritage in that it is made of scraps of clothing worn by generations of family members. The quilt has been sewn by family hands and used on family beds. It has seen history and is history. Maggie and her mother see that that history is alive but Dee thinks it is as dead as her name. Dee does not see that name as part of her heritage. By analyzing these symbols, a number of possibilities for a theme can be seen. Walker could be suggesting that to understand the African-American heritage, readers have to include the present as well as the past. However, the theme could be that poverty and a lack of sophistication and education cannot be equated with ignorance. Lastly, she could be telling her readers that dignity or self-respect rise from and are virtually connected to one’s entire heritage- not just a selected part of it.
“The Lottery”, by Shirley Jackson is a short story about a disturbing social practice in a village. Besides, there were about three hundred citizens in the small village where the setting took place. The introduction of “the lottery” is about an event that takes place every year on 27th in the month of June, where the community members of this tradition organize a lottery. Everyone in the village including small children to adults is expected to participate. Besides, when this story was introduced at the very first in 1948 by Shirley Jackson, many people were upset. This is because this story was so strange to undertake in modern enlightened times.
In the story 'Everyday Use', by Alice Walker, the value of ones culture and heritage are defined as a part of life that should not be looked upon as history but as a living existence of the past. Walker writes of the conflict between two Black cultures. Dee and Maggie are sisters whom do not share the same ideals. Mama is torn between two children with different perspectives of what life truly means. In the story, Walker describes the trial and tribulations of one daughter whose whole life is tormented by fear, failure and weakness; while the other "has held life always in the palm of one hand"(61) and moves to a better lifestyle. The possessions of the past will ultimately change the relationships of the future.
Acosta portrays the quilt as a memoir type deal and makes it into a precious piece of herself for her kids to have with them. Walker signifies the quilts as being special to her and her family heritage and refused to give them to someone who won't respect their meaning, even if it is her own daughter. Anything has what it takes to be of some significance and it doesn’t matter what that thing is. What means the most is how valued that significance is and how well the heritage is kept
The quilts play an important role in depicting symbolism of heritage because they signify Dee’s family origins. For instance, Dees’ significant family members all have pieces of their fabric sown on to the quilts as a remembrance of who they were and their importance in the family. Nevertheless, Dee is overlooking important facets of her family history because she does not see the quilts her ancestors made as valuable, hand-made, pieces of fabric that should be passed down and taken care of to keep their history alive. As Mama stated, “In both of them were scraps of dresses Grandma Dee had worn fifty years and more years ago. Bits and pieces of Grandpa Jarrell’s paisley shirts. And one teeny faded blue piece, about the size of a penny matchbox, that was from Great Grandpa Ezra’s uniform that he wore in the civil war.” (1129). Despite her family’s history, Dee continues to misinterpret the...
Quilts symbolize a family’s heritage. Maggie adheres the tradition by learning how to quilt from her grandmother and by sewing her own quilts. Maggie also puts her grandmother’s quilts into everyday use. Therefore, when Dee covets the family’s heirloom, wanting to take her grandmother’s hand-stitched quilts away for decoration, Mama gives the quilts to Maggie. Mama believes that Maggie will continually engage with and build upon the family’s history by using the quilts daily rather than distance herself from
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...
Like most peoples families there is a dynamic of people involved, although all from the same environment and teachings, it is ultimately an accumulation of personal experiences that shape us and defines how we perceive our existence. “Everyday Use” is a story of conflict of right and wrong and also family values. Walkers’ narrator, “Mama”, struggles with her disrespectful daughter ‘Dee”. Though “Mama” was quoted to have worked hard like a man to send her to school gratitude is never mentioned. “Clearly, Dee privileges language over silence, as she demonstrates in her determination to be educated and in the importance she places on her name” (Tuten). Since “Dee” had been out of the house and to school in the city she had lost touch with where she came from and had little respect for the family heritage. Maggie having been burned in a house fire had learned to love the shelter that only a family can provide. Being burned makes you like no one else, everywhere you go you feel eyes looking. Since she had not been out of the house and had the time to learn the value of family she regarded the quilts as a part of her heritage.
Many people show their appreciation for things in different ways. Dee appreciates the quilt for being her heritage. She can't express enough how she feels about it. She can't even imagine that the quilt was hand made with every stitch stroked in and out. As for Maggie, Dee believes she can't appreciate the quilt in the same way she can. "Maggie can't appreciate these quilts." Instead, she thinks that Maggie will use the quilt for about 5 or so years and it will turn into a rag. "She'd probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use." "Maggie would put them on the bed and in five years they'd be in rags. Less than that!" Dee doesn't feel Maggie deserves the quilt.
Traditions define cultures from all over the world; however, some are done without knowing its true meaning or its possible negative effects. “The Lottery” is about a small town that traditionally holds an annual lottery that selects one person at random to die. No one in the town truly knows why the ritual is done or how immoral it is, just that it has always been done. Using foreshadowing and characterization, Shirley Jackson shows how tradition can have negative effects on people in “The Lottery”.
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. She wants the quilts because they are handmade, not stitched with around the borders. She tells Mama, “Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts!... She’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use… But, they’re priceless!.. Maggie would put them on her the bed and in five years they’d be in rags. Less than that!” (317). The quilt signifies the family pride and history, which is important to Mama. She makes the decision to give the quilt to Maggie who will appreciate it more than Dee, to whom she says, “God knows I been saving ‘em for long enough with
...rn fifty and more years ago. Bits and pieces of Grandpa Jarrell's Paisley shirts. And one teeny faded blue piece . . . that was from Great Grandpa Ezra's uniform that he wore in the Civil War" (Walker, 65). These quilts, which have become an heirloom, not only represent the family, but are an integral part of the family. A concept in which Dee, could just not possibly understand. Mama then grasps the quilts out of Dee’s clutch and places them on Maggie’s lap, for Maggie knows that the quilts are personal and emotional rather than by any means financial (p.66). These quilts are for “Everyday Use.”
Mama is hoping that Maggie will use the quilt as a practical everyday item. She sees the quilts for their functional use that they were made to use in everyday life. Meanwhile, Dee finds this absurd. She thinks they are too valuable and priceless to be using as everyday necessities. Instead she will hang them. These two ideas of how to use the quilts are in complete contrast of one another. Mama finds them practical, Dee finds them fashiona...