Theme of Heritage in Everyday Use

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Everyday Use

In the short story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, two sisters portray their contrasting family views on what they perceive to be heritage. The idea that a quilt is a part of a family's history is what the narrator is trying to point out. They aren't just parts of cloth put together to make a blanket. The quilt represents their ancestors' lives and tells a story with each individual stitch.

"They had been pieced my Grandma Dee and Big Dee and me and hung them on the quilt frames on the front porch and quilted them. One was in the Lone Star pattern. The other was Walk Around the Mountain. In both of them 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 size of a penny matchbox that was from Great Grandpa Ezra's uniform that he wore in the Civil War. (Walker, 399)" Understanding the importance of why the author wrote this story is very important, valuing the culture and traditions of your family is extremely meaningful. In the story, Walker presents Maggie, who is the younger sister, as an example of heritage in terms of passing it on through generations and understanding it with knowledge and respect. Maggie unlike her older sister knew how to sew and appreciated personally and emotionally how much time and effort where put into the quilts.

"Dress down to the ground, in the hot weather. A dress so loud it hurts my eyes… Earrings gold, two, and hanging down to her shoulders. Bracelets dangling and making noises when she moves her arm… The dress is loose and flows, and as she walks closure, I like it. I hear Maggie go "Uhnnnh" (Walker, 397). Dee the narrator's older daughter was very different from her younger sister, Maggie. She was materialistic, complex, and modernized. She does not really understand the present life relations to the traditions of her ancestors. She sees the quilt valued for financial and aesthetic reasons.

Looking back on my childhood, I remember all the times that I would visit my Grandma Susie at her house. She always had a sewing task in the process and I would always ask her if I could help her. She would let me do little things like sew a square or roll up the yarn.
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