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
... family values, Mama takes the quilts from Dee who "held the quilts securely in her arms, stroking them clutching them closely to her bosom" (Walker, 91) like sacred representation, and then gives them to their rightful owner: Maggie.
When Dee returns and announces that she would be using a new name in order to reflect her African heritage her Mom becomes annoyed and starts to find her attitude ridiculous. After Dee tells her Mom that she no longer goes by Dee, Mom replies, “What happened to ‘Dee’?”(488). The fact the Mom asks about these changes exemplifies this annoyance she has with Dee. When Dee explains she changed her name because she’s oppressed her Mom shows that she finds the attitude ridiculous by pointing out it is a family tradition spanning more than 4 generations. When Dee starts asking to have the items that her Mom and Maggie need for everyday use with the intent to appreciate it as art, it only furthers how much she irritates her Mom. Dee had been offered one of the quilts before she went to college Dee thought they were, “old-fashioned, out of style.”(490). It’s after Maggie agrees to give Dee the quilts that her Mom realizes that she has always given Dee everything she wanted even at Maggie’s expense. Mother had an epiphany about how to handle the situation, shown when she says, “Something hit me on top of the head”, “just like when I’m in church and the spirit of God touches me”(492). Dee’s attitude had annoyed the Mom so much she had this realization. For once the Mom decides to stand up against
In the commencement of "Everyday Use" Dee is styled as lively and Maggie as unclear by their own mother but towards the end of the story reader comes to know that Maggie has inner strength and a heartiest feelings for the people in her own family; whereas Dee appears quite uninformed and confuse about the real meaning of heritage and its worth. (Robins Elizabeth, 2010). The Mama character finds that the best way to protect the essence of the quilts is to end risks and confusions as depicted in Maggie’s eternal “care.” The mockery of this is not disagreeable but emotional which preserve the substances and take them out of everyday use because they consider it as disrespectful because it disrespects the objects’ intended. However the usage of heritage things in daily life is very important because it keeps the history of family
First, early on, Dee rejected her black American heritage. A significant event that Mama constantly mentions is when the house burned down ten to twelve years prior. She takes note of Dee’s face when it occurred, and how she had “a look of concentration on her face as she watched the last dingy gray board of the house fall […]” (1011). The expression on her face was so strange that Mama was nearly compelled to ask Dee if she wanted to dance in the ashes, to celebrate the house that she hated so much burned to the ground.
In the story “Everyday Use”, in this story the theme is based on passing down a family heirloom through the generations. Mama has two daughters, Dee and Maggie. Dee has had the opportunity to go away to college and live a new life. Maggie on the other hand is home, living with her mother. Mama’s daughters are very different from each other; she describes Maggie as “a lame animal, perhaps a dog run over by some careless person rich enough to own a car.” Whereas Dee is said to be more outgoing, nicer hair and pretty. Mama and Maggie are actually a lot alike; they both share a love for their heritage. Mama has her mother’s quilt that will be passed down to one of her daughters. When Maggie comes home form college she expresses, that she wants the quilt, and not cause she cares about her heritage, she just wants to use it as a throw-blanket. Maggie on the other hand has already been promised the quilt since she will put it to better use. In this story you see how a mother may have “favored” one child over another, since she had more in common with one. Maybe Mama could have solved the conflict before it started by giving Dee something else of her grandmothers to have in her home as “everyday
... attempts to change the way Mama and Maggie perceive tradition by using the quilts as a wall display. Mama refuses to allow it, Dee was offered the quilts when she was in college and didn’t want them at that time. Mama gives the quilts to Maggie as her wedding gift to be used every day as they were intended, knowing how much Maggie appreciates them. I agree with Mama and Maggie for keeping family memories and objects in daily use. It is important to maintain your family history in your everyday life to preserve those special memories.
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...
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.
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.
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...
...ly?s heritage. So ironically, while Dee is looking for her African-American culture, and it lies right in front of her eyes. Her sister, mother, grandmother, and herself are all a part of their family?s heritage, which stems from the African-American heritage that Dee is so desperate to find.
Another example of Dee's confusion about her own African-American heritage is expressed when she announces to her mother and sister that she has changed her name to "Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo." When her mother questions her about the change, Dee says, "I couldn't bear it any longer being named after the people who oppress me" (411). According to her mother, the name has been in the family since before the Civil War and most likely represents family unity to her. However, Dee does not realize that. Apparently, she believes that by changing her name she is expressing solidarity with her African ancestors and rejecting the oppression implied by the taking on of American names by black slaves.
But the truth was that she wanted to forget all the Dees who came before her. Dee came with a man who was short and had hair all over his head. Mama didn’t even care to ask Dee if he was her husband or not. He greeted them but with strange word for mama to hear. It was “Alsalamalekim”. She thought that it was his name. Dee asked if she could take the quilts. But mama said that she had promised Maggie to have them as a wedding gift. And she told Dee that she had offered them to her at first when she was at the age of 16 but she rejected them as it was “old fashioned”. Dee didn’t want the quilts in order to remember her grandmother, but she wanted to hang them. But Maggie would use them in everyday use. When mama told Maggie that she will take the quilts not Dee, she couldn’t believe herself, she finally had something for herself not for Dee and she was finally happy. But Dee was angry of mama and she said that Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts and she would use them for everyday use and she didn’t know it was used for that. Then she gets out of the house furiously saying that mama and Maggie just don’t understand their heritage. But mama and Maggie understand that Dee never
Dee (Wangero) seem to be the oldest of the two daughters. The way mama described Dee, made her seem like a narcissist. Dee, did not care for their culture. Furthermore, Dee's reaction towards their first house burning down, made her look like if she was embarrassed by where she came from. In the other hand, Maggie was described by mama, with burns on her body. According, to the story, Maggie was intimidated by her sister, she will get nervous and ashamed of herself while being around Dee.