The Use of Symbolism in Everyday Use by Alice Walker

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Pieces of fabric stitched together, to us, may seem like a quilt used to cover oneself for warmth. However, in Everyday Use a quilt is used to symbolize the family heritage passed down from generation to generation. Symbolism is when an object such as a crucifix is used to depictsomething greater like a religion and not justa piece of wood. A crucifix can also be used to represent the pain held by man and the heavy burden we carry each day. Many authors, including Alice Walker, use symbolism in order to get the reader to have a sense of deeper meaning within the story. The character Deestruggles to understand that “the people behind the quilts are what’s important” (Eshbaugh) and not just a piece of art to be hanged on a wall.
In her strikinglywell-kept yard, Mama Johnson and her daughter Maggie await the arrival of Maggie’s sister Dee, who went off to become successful in a big city. Dee’s always been the daughter to shine brightest considering the fact that Maggie was severely burned and scarred in a house fire. The fire scarred Maggie physically andhad “likewise scarred her soul” (Velasquez).Maggie’s scars caused her to feel self-conscious and inferior to hersister Dee. Mama expects Dee’s visit, to be like those reunions she sees on shows including the show with a “sporty man like Johnny Carson” (Walker 715).To Mama’s surprise her daughter’s visit happens to be a tragicmoment when Dee becomes greedy and asks for items from the house to use as decor in her city home. Dee’s lack of understanding family heritage causes Mama and Maggie to be faced with family
division. In the end, after Dee had requested the family quilt,Mama made the decision to give the quilt to Maggie which was promised to her for her marriage.
Many a...

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Works Cited

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