Analysis of Patches: Quilt and Community in Alice Walker's Everyday Use

Analysis of Patches: Quilt and Community in Alice Walker's Everyday Use

Length: 682 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Analysis of Patches: Quilt and Community in Alice Walker's Everyday Use

In a critique titled “Patches: Quilt and Community in Alice Walker’s ‘Everyday Use’” (Short Story Criticism: Excerpts from Criticism of the Works of Short Fiction Writers, 1990), the authors reveal that tradition and the explanation of holiness were key elements throughout the story. The writers began the analysis by discussing the significance of a quilt; a quilt is a complete piece of artwork that is essentially made up of fragments. These patchwork quilts, when effectively put together, exposed a way of life. The Africans traditional way of life was one of sacredness and usefulness. By using scraps from old clothes they were able to create a masterpiece that could be passed down from one generation to the next. The title “Everyday Use” implies that quilts, while they may be priceless heirlooms, are also made to function.
The Johnson’s are a typical African family that has settled in America. The mother, and narrator of the story, is a working woman who often imagines herself as someone else, someone who her children would not be ashamed to be seen with. While awaiting the arrival of Dee, her eldest daughter and a “goddess” (415) in the eyes of her family, she dreams of being on a TV program where a host reunites long lost family members. As she greets her daughter who has been away at college, she is not only one hundred pounds thinner but is beautiful in the eyes of her children. Howeve...

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Simplicity in Everyday Use

- Leonardo Da Vinci once said, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." If that is the case, then Maggie wins hands down over her older sister, Dee, whom, from what seems the beginning, has been her family’s ultimate representation of the externally cosmopolitan, debased, and contemporarily delusional woman "getting-in-touch-with-her-inner-self-through-learning-about-her-heritage-in-a-white-and-‘americanized’-educational-institution." And, whereas Maggie is the soft, gentle, and truly "educated" woman of their ancestors as shown through Alice Walker’s quilt motif utilized in her story, "Everyday Use." First, consider Dee, also known as “Wangero,” as she likes to call herself because she...   [tags: Alice Walker]

Free Essays
1082 words (3.1 pages)

Essay on Everyday Use By Alice Walker

- The story “Everyday Use” is written by Alice Walker. The story is about two sisters who grew up in the same household but one sister is ashamed of her past life. When Dee got older and finished boarding school in Augusta she basically forgot where she came from. Mama, Maggie, and Dee all have different personalities. Since Dee was able to leave home and experience new things she bashes her old life, but still want things from her past life and stuff that was passed on from her ancestors as a trophy piece....   [tags: Family, Quilting]

Good Essays
841 words (2.4 pages)

Essay The Usability of Symbolism in Everyday Use by Alice Walker

- Symbolism is a technique that author’s uses to bring out the main importance of an object, but more emphasized details are being extracted in the usage of it. Alice Walker uses quilts, for example, to symbolize a “bond between women” (Spark Notes) a relationship between women, that would get passed down from generation to generation. In this story, symbolism plays a big role that makes this more attracted to the reader’s eyes. The characters such as the following: Mama Johnson, Dee, and Maggie all symbolize a manifold of different things that happened and/or took place back in the 1950s and 1960s....   [tags: quilts, civil rights movement, heritage, culture]

Good Essays
1226 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on The Symbolism of the Handmade Quilt in Everyday Use by Alice Walker

- In "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, two sisters want the handmade quilt that is a symbol of the family heritage. Alice Expresses what her feeling are about her heritage through this story. It means everything to her. Something such as a quilt that was hand made makes it special. Only dedication and years of work can represent a quilt. A symbol is when the author uses an object in the story to represent a greater meaning. The quilt is a symbol of the family heritage that can only be appreciated by certain people....   [tags: Everyday Use]

Free Essays
284 words (0.8 pages)

Essay Everyday Use by Alice Walker

- Everyday Use by Alice Walker Through contrasting family members and views in "Everyday Use", Alice Walker illustrates the importance of understanding our present life in relation to the traditions of our own people and culture. Using careful descriptions and attitudes, Walker demonstrates which factors contribute to the values of one's heritage and culture; she illustrates that these are represented not by the possession of objects or mere appearances, but by one's lifestyle and attitude. Throughout the story, Walker personifies the different sides of culture and heritage in the characters of Dee and the mother (the narrator)....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use]

Good Essays
964 words (2.8 pages)

Everyday Use by Alice Walker Essay

- Everyday Use by Alice Walker In the short story Everyday Use, by Alice Walker, is narration by an African American woman in the South who is faced with the ultimate decision to whom she should give away the two quilts. Dee, her oldest daughter who is visiting from college, perceives the quilts as popular fashion and believes they should undoubtedly be given to her. Maggie, her youngest daughter, who still lives at home and understands the family heritage, has been promised the quilts. The two daughters each have opposing views on the value and worth of the different items in their lives....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use Essays]

Good Essays
724 words (2.1 pages)

Everyday Use by Alice Walker Essay

- Everyday Use by Alice Walker In the story 'Everyday Use', by Alice Walker, the value of ones culture and heritage are defined as a part of life that should not be looked upon as history but as a living existence of the past. Walker writes of the conflict between two Black cultures. Dee and Maggie are sisters whom do not share the same ideals. Mama is torn between two children with different perspectives of what life truly means. In the story, Walker describes the trial and tribulations of one daughter whose whole life is tormented by fear, failure and weakness; while the other "has held life always in the palm of one hand"(61) and moves to a better lifestyle....   [tags: Every Day Use Alice Walker]

Good Essays
640 words (1.8 pages)

Essay about Everyday Use by Alice Walker

- Everyday Use by Alice Walker “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, is a story of a black family composed of a mother and her two daughters: Maggie and Dee. Walker does an excellent job illustrating her characters. There are all types of characters in this short story from round to static. Dee is a flat character, yet Walker uses Dee’s character to warn people of what might happen if they do not live properly. Walker describes Dee’s character as arrogant and selfish, and through Dee’s character one is allowed to perceive the wicked effect of an egotistical world....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use Essays]

Good Essays
712 words (2 pages)

Essay about Accepting One's Heritage in "Everyday Use"

- Author Alice Walker is an African American woman who grew up in the rural south during segregation, as is the narrator in "Everyday Use", Ms. Johnson. Walker feels that one's name should be revered for its symbol of ancestry, as she did when she took back her maiden name to honor her great-great-great-grandmother. In Walker's "Everyday Use," she uses a symbolic quilt to express the differences of understanding one's heritage within a single family. The precise setting of "Everyday Use" is not given but it can be assumed that the geographical setting is in a southern countryside likely to be in Georgia....   [tags: American Literature]

Good Essays
772 words (2.2 pages)

Alice Walker's Everyday Use Essay examples

- Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" In the short story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, the author portrays opposing ideas about one’s heritage. Through the eyes of two daughters, Dee and Maggie, who have chosen to live their lives in very different manners, the reader can choose which character to identify most with by judging what is really important in one’s life. In Dee’s case, she goes out to make all that can of herself while leaving her past behind, in comparison to Maggie, who stays back with her roots and makes the most out of the surroundings that she has been placed in....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use Essays]

Good Essays
1644 words (4.7 pages)