Everyday Use By Alice Walker Essay

Everyday Use By Alice Walker Essay

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In Alice Walker’s Short story “Everyday Use” a mother is conflicted between her two daughters and the families quilt. Maggie is uneducated and financial unstable, and Dee is a well-educated woman that’s embarrassed of her family. Each believing they are entitled to family inheritance. The story characterize heritage and how heritage is portaged differently between the two sister. The main characters in this story, "Mama" and Maggie are on one side, and Dee on the other, each have opposing views on the value and worth of the various items in their lives, this conflict makes the point that the substance of an object is more important than style.
Dee is the oldest daughter of Mama’s children. She was sent off to boarding school and would visit the family from time to time. Dee is the only one who have received an education. Mama is uneducated because she was not allowed to go to school pass the second grade, but she makes up for being uneducated by being good with her hand. “In real life I am a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands... I can kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man.” (Walker) Maggie is very shy, lacking self-confidence and is intimidated by her sister Dee. Maggie can read but to a limited capacity. Mama and Maggie both yarn to be appreciated by Dee. Mama imagines being in one of those TV shows where children have “made it” and thank their parents. (Walker) Mama wants Dee to understand the sacrifices she’s made in order for her to be this intelligent woman, but at the same time Mama resents the education, and detest the superiority that Dee hold above her family. Maggie is the opposite of her sister. She’s shy, timid, keeps to herself and has very low self-esteem. She is described as “Walking with ...


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...Walker) Although, Maggie will put the quilt through everyday use but she will add to it, and pass it down to her children, which add to the family’s legacy. Mama Prefers to let Maggie have the quilt since she truly understand the value it holds. During the dispute over the quilts, Maggie says “She can have them Mama... I can’ member Grandma Dee without the quilts” (Walker) That shows that Maggie does not want the quilts for decoration but it is a part of who she is, her identity.
Alice Walker’s “Everyday use” shows the misinterpretation and ignorance of some seeking their heritage. Dee has no respect for her mother or her mother’s ancestors. In her eyes they are beneath he, she criticizes them for living and thinking the old way. Dee’s new life was created to escape her family. This attitude shows how disconnected she is and the lack of appreciation for her heritage.

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