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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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"Theme of Heritage in Everyday Use." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Aug 2018
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For weeks and weeks, I begged her to teach me how to make a quilt of my own. She finally gave in and decided to help me. She first had me choose a color that I primarily wanted to quilt to be, and then we went to the store and shopped for hours trying to choose the perfect patterns. She also let me pick some of her great grandmother's fabric that she had had for many years. When we finished that we sat down and she helped me stitch by stitch to make my quilt. It took several months to finish but when we finally completed the quilt, I was very proud of my accomplishment. It took hours and hours a tedious work and when I finished it left me with a sense of respect and appreciation.
Today when I look at the quilt, which I keep on my bed, I remember all the personal emotion and the creative legacy that my Grandma Susie left in that quilt. The day I finished that quilt it was on my bed, I have never gone a night without sleeping with that quilt. "The truth is, "I said, "I promised to give them quilts to Maggie, for when she marries John Thomas. "She gasped like a bee had stung her. "Maggie can't appreciate these quilts!" she said. "She'd probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use. (Walker, 399)" in relation to the story I feel as though a quilt should be used and appreciated the way the creator wanted it to be used. Hanging on a wall was not the reason why it was made.
In conclusion understanding the story inspires you to look deeper at simple blanket and find it is full meaning. That quilt told a story that had a greater meaning than just someone sewing fabric together did did. In the story, there were two sisters who looked at it from two separate views. Both cherished it in different ways. At the end of the story that younger sister, Maggie is given the quilts because she knew the true meaning of her own heritage. She represented it in her lifestyle and attitude. In the end, her mother rewarded this attitude by giving her daughter the prized quilts knowing that it meant much more than just a pretty blanket.