She went to college after high school and didn’t return home after she graduated. She got married to a Muslim man and she became so concerned with her family’s history. When she arrived, she became so concerned with taking pictures of the farmhouse she grew up in a soon as she got their she didn’t even greet her mother and sister Maggie right away. When she entered the home she immediately began to scan the room for things that she felt were good enough to go into her apartment in the city, she also wanted included things that she felt were good enough to impress her friends and to show her where they are from. When she reached the home, she mentioned a few things that stood out to her which included a butter churn and 2 quilts. The two quilts in particular stuck out to her because the two were hand sew by her grandmothers and aunt , along with her mother. Maggie her sister states, “She can have them, Mama,” She said, like somebody used to never winning anything, or having anything reserved for her. “I can member’ Grandma Dee without the quilts’” (Walker). Maggie her younger sister who still lived at home with her family let her sister know she could have them simply because she knew that it wasn’t the quilts that were going to make her remember she’s remembers the years they spent together unlike her sister who was never really around the house as much as Maggie and this was giving Maggie as sense of pride
Cowart illustrates how "this house represents more than a failed poverty...the fire is the American past, a conflagration from which assorted survivors stumble forward covered like Maggie with scars of the body or like Dee Wangero with scars of the soul"(23). Wangero makes it evident that she hates her past heritage and throughout the story it is even questioned if she burned the house herself. It is something she knows would scar her in society so she hides where she came from inside of her. In "Everyday Use" Mama tells that as the house burned down she wanted to ask Dee, "why don't you do a dance around the ashes... she had hated the house that much" (Walker 162). The burning of the house to Dee represents the burning up of her heritage. She escaped from this fire without any scars externally, just as she escaped from the societal restrictions of being an African American. However, her soul was scarred. Dee can deny her past all she wants and try to put it behind her, but the fact that she comes from an African American heritage will always have a restricting hold on her
In her short story “Everyday Use”, Alice Walker portrays an African American family. In that family, there were the mother, her elder daughter who does
Dee is the oldest daughter of Mama’s children. She was sent off to boarding school and would visit
The narrator has two daughters, Dee and Maggie. Dee was this cute girl who was super intelligent and sophisticated. She often saw herself as being above her mother and sister and would often make them feel stupid and bad about themselves. "She used to read to us without pity, forcing words, lies, other folks' habits, whole lives upon us two, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice". She shows that Dee enjoyed making her mother and younger sister feel dumb about themselves because it made her feel superior. Her whole life Dee detested her family and where she came from and couldn’t wait to get away. But, still her mother worked her booty off to provide her with high education and a good life. Dee goes away to college and when she returns she is a completely different person, suddenly interested in her family; photographing them upon arrival. With her guest, new "Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo", invades her mothers house taking everything in like it’s a cute display for her. Finally, when Wangero (Dee) demands that her mother give her some quilts, her mum can not take anymore. She tells Dee that Maggie, not her, will be receiving the quilts and she snaps. "I did something I never had done before: hugged Maggie to me, then dragged her on into the room, snatched the quilts out of Miss Wangero's hands, and dumped them into Maggie's lap. Maggie just sat
Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, wrote "Everyday Use," which tells a story of a rugged, independent mother of two girls who celebrate their African-American heritage in completely different ways. One daughter, Maggie, celebrates her heritage by enjoying and appreciating the use of family heirlooms whereas the other daughter, Dee, feels it is more honorable to display these heirlooms for artistic show. Walker's use of imagery illuminates the story's theme of family heritage and, quite possibly the most respectful way of celebrating such heritage.
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.
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...
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.
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
Dee makes it clear, long before she asked for the quilts, that she has already taken her heritage for granted. Dee makes the bold proclamation that she is not longer going by the name Dee, “‘Not Dee,’ Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo!’” (Walker, 3013). Not only has “Wangero” shocked her mother with her new name, but goes to attack those her family history, “I could not longer bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppressed me.” The author make a substantial point by connecting Dee’s new beliefs to disowning her heritage and her ancestors. Despite the rejection of her family’s humbled life, Dee finds a desire in the quilt of her family’s past. Dee’s request for the quilts is far from nostalgic and she has little consideration for her sister when she asks for both antique quilts. Dee is in love with the idea of displaying her family as a display of her superiority over her ancestors and can not understand why her mother would not agree with her.
One situation in particular that Mama brings up is the time when she offers to Dee to bring some of the ancestral quilts with her to college. She claims, “I had offered Dee a quilt whe...
In Alice Walker's "Everyday Use," the message about the preservation of heritage, specifically African-American heritage, is very clear. It is obvious that Walker believes that a person's heritage should be a living, dynamic part of the culture from which it arose and not a frozen timepiece only to be observed from a distance. There are two main approaches to heritage preservation depicted by the characters in this story. The narrator, a middle-aged African-American woman, and her youngest daughter Maggie, are in agreement with Walker. To them, their family heritage is everything around them that is involved in their everyday lives and everything that was involved in the lives of their ancestors. To Dee, the narrator's oldest daughter, heritage is the past - something to frame or hang on the wall, a mere artistic, aesthetic reminder of her family history. Walker depicts Dee's view of family heritage as being one of confusion and lack of understanding.
n “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, we hear a story from the viewpoint of Mama, an African American woman about a visit from her daughter Dee. Mama along with her other daughter Maggie still live poor in the Deep South while Dee has moved onto a more successful life. Mama and Maggie embrace their roots and heritage whereas Dee wants to get as far away as possible. During her return, Dee draws her attention to a quilt. It is this quilt and the title of the piece that centers on the concept of what it means to integrate one’s culture into their everyday life.