To begin with a quilt is defined as a “coverlet made of scrapes and fragments stitched together to forming a pattern” (Webster). The quilt in “Everyday Use” was made by Grandma Dee, Big Dee, and Mama from scraps of dresses and shirts and part of Grandpa’s Civil War uniform. It is filled with memories and was hand stitched by the family. Mama suggests that Dee take other ones, but Dee rejects the offer because they were “stitched by machine”(Walker, p.114) and the old ones were done by hand. Mama says that she had promised them to Maggie. Dee then replies that Maggie would “be backward enough to put them to everyday use” (Walker,p.114). Mama says she hope Maggie will use them every day. This begins what is means to use and misuse heritage.
Mama is hoping that Maggie will use the quilt as a practical everyday item. She sees the quilts for their functional use that they were made to use in everyday life. Meanwhile, Dee finds this absurd. She thinks they are too valuable and priceless to be using as everyday necessities. Instead she will hang them. These two ideas of how to use the quilts are in complete contrast of one another. Mama finds them practical, Dee finds them fashiona...
... middle of paper ...
...racticality in items. Depending on how one feels about the item, it would seem it dictates its use; like Dee wants to embrace her heritage, but not her roots whereas Mama and Maggie can embrace their heritage regardless of the items. Therefore they use them practically but appreciate where they came from.
Hoel, Helga. "Personal Names and Heritage: Alice Walker's 'Everyday Use.'." American Studies in Scandinavia 31.1 (1999): 34-42. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Jelena O. Krstovic. Vol. 97. Detroit: Gale, 2007. Literature Resource Center. Web. 24 July 2010.
"quilt." Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2010. Merriam-Webster Online. 24 July 2010
Schakel, Peter J., and Jack Ridl. "Everyday Use." Approaching Literature: Writing Reading Thinking. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008. 109-15. Print.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- In “Everyday Use ” by Alice Walker the exact setting is never revealed and therefore, can only be guessed, but it has been guessed that the story takes place on a country side in Georgia. At one point in the story Augusta is mentioned. The time is also estimated to be during the Civil Rights Movement around the year of 1973. Mrs. Johnson, along with her two daughters, reside in a small three room house, and take pride in there small yard. As Maggie and Dee grow older they start to realize how important their heritage, and family heirlooms are, Maggie in particular.... [tags: Literary Analysis ]
844 words (2.4 pages)
- In its simplest form, a child is a product of a man and a woman but Alice Walker one of the foremost authors during the twentieth century, adds depth to her black American women by focusing on the role that race and gender played in their development. Family reunions can be times of great anticipation, excitement and happiness but for Dee, a young, beautiful, African American and our leading character, it was a reunion with underlying, unspoken tensions. Dee was Dee but Dee had changed; a new husband, nice clothes, and a college degree to boat.... [tags: Literary Analysis]
1296 words (3.7 pages)
- The familiar saying, “Old habits die hard,” is true in every sense of the phrase. In life, it is most times difficult for someone to cease an old habit. In the story, “Everyday Use,” we are introduced to the Johnson family: Mama, Maggie and Dee. Mama and Maggie live together while Dee, Maggie’s older sibling, moved away to study; she has always been the most established of the three. Dee eventually comes back to visit her family, but she looks much different from the time she left. She even has a new name to go along with her appearance, but her personality remains the same: pompous, selfish, and misguided.... [tags: literary analysis, book review]
907 words (2.6 pages)
- In Alice Walker’s short story, “Everyday Use”, the narrator is the mother who is uneducated, but loving and hard working. Dee and Maggie are her daughters, whom she cares for deeply. Maggie, the youngest daughter, shares many outlooks on life the way her mother does. She has never been away from home and she and Mama are very close. She learned valuable traditions and their history from her family members. In contrast to Maggie, Dee is in college and couldn’t wait to leave home. She always had ambition and goals that she had set high.... [tags: Short Story, Literary Analysis, Review]
1148 words (3.3 pages)
- Symbolism is a symbol of whatever the object or subject is about. Every little object can be used as a symbol of whatever. Like in math, for example shapes and numbers symbolize anything it can be. Also, the American flag, It has fifty stars, representing 50 states. Also, colors may be used as a symbol. Especially in the person, you can see their true color on how they are or act. Like red angry, blue sad, green happy, black dark, purple love, anything represents something. This is most likely your tone of mood.... [tags: Alice Walker, Literary Analysis]
1228 words (3.5 pages)
- The characters in “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker serve as a comparison between how family heritage and traditions are viewed. Walker illustrates that heritage is represented not by the possession of items or how they look, but buy how they are used, how one’s attitude is, and how they go about a daily lifestyle. Every memory or tradition in “Everyday Use” strengthens the separation in the relationship between Dee and her mother, the narrator, which involves different views on their family heritage.... [tags: Literary Analysis, Alice Walker]
1245 words (3.6 pages)
- On a daily basis, symbols are encountered everywhere. Symbols can be used to identify colors, objects or people. It can have a different meaning to what it really stands for. For example, yellow can symbolize sunshine and happiness and black can symbolize sadness and isolation. Like in the book Divergent, each faction had a symbol that symbolized what they were. The Dauntless symbol represented bravery and force while Abnegation stood for peace and happiness. Symbols are everywhere and are very useful.... [tags: semiotical and literary analysis]
1512 words (4.3 pages)
- In Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use” an object becomes the cause of conflict between Maggie and her sister Dee. The object of conflict between these two polar opposite sisters is a handmade quilt passed down from their ancestors. They both associate the quilt with their heritage but it is obvious their views on heritage are quite different. Dee, the older daughter, represents a misconception of heritage as material while to Maggie heritage is both knowledge and form which is passed down from one generation to another through learning and experiences.... [tags: literary analysis]
734 words (2.1 pages)
- Many authors use the themes oppression and victory to define a struggle. This technique allows readers to relate with characters on a personal level. Alice Walker constantly uses this theme in her short story “Everyday Use” with her character Maggie and in her book The Color Purple with her character Celie. Both tales depict these women as underdogs who overcome obstacles to realize her full potential at the end. In the story “Everyday Use” Walker weaves us into the lives of Momma, Dee, and Maggie, an underprivileged family in rural Georgia.... [tags: literary analysis, literary criticism, term paper]
1512 words (4.3 pages)
- By looking at the last couple pages of Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use,” the reader can determine a certain style Walker uses to tell the story of a culture gap between an African American family. By using slang and incorrect word usage with Mama and proper, almost eloquent English with Dee, Walker is able to paint the perfect picture of how truly different the mother and daughter are. Also, Walker alternates between simple, often incomplete sentences with incorrect run-on sentences to depict Mama’s lack of proper education.... [tags: literary analysis, literary criticism]
628 words (1.8 pages)