Dee does not respect the old world and chooses to make herself an outcast. “Everyday Use” focuses on the legacy of this family. The quilt itself is a piece of their heritage and history. It is like a documented history with her great grandmothers dress, her grandfather’s shirt, etc. The quilt shows the family as who they are it shows how they have lived.
The mother explains, “I could have carried it back before the Civil Way through the branches” (464) Dee could not understand the cultural significance of her name, the very same name that came from her loved ones and not by her oppressors. She fails to appreciate the cultural significance of the name Dee. Dee wants to appreciate her family quilts by framing them in her home, but Maggie would most likely put them to everyday use and have them in order to remember her Grandmother ... ... middle of paper ... ...monstrate how little she cares for her family culture by displaying her family quilts as decor, changing her family name, and with her new identity, she has completely left her family culture. The mother can understand Dee’s viewpoint, but that is the reason she cannot grant Dee those quilts. When Maggie displays her affection about the quilts and is willing to part with them, her mother understands that she is more deserving of the family quilts.
They symbolize the family’s history and represent memories they have of their grandma. The symbol of the quilts creates the central conflict in the story. The way each daughter treats the quilt reveals her feelings about her family’s history. Dee sees the quilts as something she can show off, hang on the wall and forget the meaning of. 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.
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... ... middle of paper ... ...nt to those generations.
It is imperative to understand that these heirlooms are mere representation of heirlooms designed for everyday use. It is ironic that Dee changes her name, and wants to take the dasher to show off in her home as part of her heritage when she is trying so hard to distance herself from her past. She does not understand that she is taking away an item used every day by her mother. She is convinced that Maggie does not deserve the quilt, because she would merely put it to everyday use. Mama cannot fathom the reason behind Dee’s desire to possess the quilt when it is obvious she sees it as an artifact.
Can her life be seen as continuous with that of her ancestors? For Maggie, the answer is yes. Not only will she use the quilts, but also she will go on making more--she has learned the skill from Grandma Dee. While for Dee, the answer is no. 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.
These quilts, which have become an heirloom, not only represent the family, but are an integral part of the family. A concept in which Dee, could just not possibly understand. Mama then grasps the quilts out of Dee’s clutch and places them on Maggie’s lap, for Maggie knows that the quilts are personal and emotional rather than by any means financial (p.66). These quilts are for “Everyday Use.” In this last scene, Mama proves to herself that you do not need an education, or generation knowledge to be able to posses strength. For Mama had inner strength all along, she just needed her true rich and beautiful beliefs of her heritage to shine through, and they did.
Another symbolism of her lack of appreciation for her heritage demonstrated through her actions is when Dee asks Mama if she can have the churn top to use it as a ce... ... middle of paper ... ...e to have them. Tradition symbolizes heritage as an important factor in their lives. Alice Walker used symbolism to convey the importance of heritage in her short story "Everyday Use," by using the sisters' actions, family items, and tradition. Dee does not appreciate her heritage like her sister and mother. She does not see the importance of family traditions.
The sacrifice is meant to keep the village crops healthy and hearty. In the story “Everyday Use” the tradition of passing down homemade quilts and family memories are of high importance. Symbols are displayed in both stories; the quilts in “Everyday Use” symbolize the memories of Mama’s family. The quilts are made of pieces of old clothing from Mama’s family. Each piece of the quilt represents that person and who they were.
In Dee’s attempt to acquire the quilts, she exudes an insincere, covetous presence that forces Mama to ‘turn her back’ on Dee. The negative connotation that Mama gets from Dee stems from the flip-flop nature of wanting the quilts. “I had offered Dee (Wangero) a quilt when she went away to college. Then she had told me they were old-fashioned, out of style,” (477). Now, Dee wants the quilts as a material possession for remembering her grandma.