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.
The daughter finds two pairs of quilts tell the great significance those quilts have because they had been quilted by her grandmother, her aunt, and her mother. In the end of the story she tells her mother she wants them, but not the one with any machine stitching. The mother finds out her daughter only wants the quilts for display and not for bedding as they are meant to be used for. She decides to give them to her youngest daughter who will use them for herself, not as a pretense of displaying heritage. Alice Walker story exposes the theme of heritage.
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. Mama finally stands up to Dee, and tells her that she promised Maggie the quilts so she could not have them. The story is told in first person point of view through the eyes of Mama.... ... middle of paper ... ...acters through Mama so that each daughter is portrayed in an accurate way. Using the symbol of the quilts deepens the characterization of the daughters because it shows how each character feels about her family and it’s history. Dee is characterized as a shallow person who will go with any trend that comes about while Maggie comes across as a reserved and quiet girl.
She not envy her sister Dee’s new style of life even though she lacks a higher level of education. The opposite, she enjoy her life style, “Maggie still lives in poverty with her mother, putting “priceless” objects to “everyday use.” Despite the fact she always felt inferior to her older sister Dee, Maggie expresses her respect for family’s heritage collaborating with Mama, cleaning the house for Dee’ visit, “I will wait for her in the yard that Maggie and I made so clean and wavy yesterday afternoon” (Walker 23). Maggie give the quilts to Dee because she wanted it even though she was preserving them for her wedding day. It represented for her an invaluable symbol of her heritage, “The quilts contains pieces of family history, scraps from old dresses and shirts that family members have worn” (“everyday
Dee argues that Maggie is "backward enough to put them to everyday use." Indeed, this is how Maggie views the quilts. She values them for what them mean to her as an individual. This becomes clear when she says, "I can 'member Grandma Dee without the quilts," implying that her connection with the quilts is personal and emotional rather than financial and aesthetic. She also knows that the quilts are an active process, kept alive through continuous renewal.
Now, Dee wants the quilts as a material possession for remembering her grandma. Instead of putting the quilts to everyday use, Dee would hang them to honor her grandma and the hand-craftsmanship of her work (477). Upset by Dee’s reasoning and seeing the disappointment in her daughter Maggie’s eyes, Mama puts her foot down and takes control of the situation to preserve her integrity. “[I] hugged Maggie to me… snatched the quilts out of Miss Wangero’s hands and dumped them into Maggie’s lap,” (478). 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.
She would frame the quilts and hang them on the wall, distancing them from her present life and aspirations; to put them to everyday use would be to admit her status as a member of her old-fashioned family. Taken as a whole, while the story clearly endorses the commonsense perspective of Dee's mother over Dee's affectations, it does not disdain Dee's struggle to move beyond the limited world of her youth. Clearly, however, she has not yet arrived at a stage of self-understanding. Her mother and sister are ahead of her in that respect.
That is exactly what Walker thinks is the wrong thing to do. Walker would prefer the quilts to be used and integrated into daily life, like Maggie and her mother prefer. The same idea applies to all of the other household items that Dee has her eye on: the churn top, the dasher, and the benches for the table that her daddy made. They all are a part of life for Maggie and her mother. Walker believes that the only value that they hold for Dee is that they would be good trinkets to show off in her house.
In “Everyday Use”, Alice Walker conveys the story of a mother and her two daughters’ conflicting ideas about their identities and ancestry. Mama is a simple woman that values culture and heritage for its usefulness but also its personal significance. However, her daughter Dee represents a materialistic way of life where culture and heritage are to be valued only for their artistic appeal. Walker displays how Mama’s perception of her two daughters changes regarding how they view the importance of heritage. In the beginning, the story introduces the characterization of Mama and shows how she views her own individuality.
In effect, Maggie is shy and tends to hide herself in embarrassment of the scars she possesses. Her mother even compares her walk to that of a “lame animal”. In the end of the story, while Dee is trying to take the quilts her mother had promised her, she did nothing. She sat and listened and even offered to let Dee take them. She values the quilts greatly, but felt inferior to Dee because of her low self-esteem and felt unworthy of the quilts.