Theme of Heritage in Everyday Use

Theme of Heritage in Everyday Use

Length: 924 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Everyday Use
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.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Theme of Heritage in Everyday Use." 17 Sep 2019

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay about Theme of Heritage in Everyday Use

- Everyday Use 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....   [tags: Alice Walker]

Free Essays
924 words (2.6 pages)

Essay about Theme of Heritage in Walker's Everyday Use

- "Growing up in Different Eras of time and disparities between the quality of education affect peoples’ perception of heritage." "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker was an inspiring story of family and heritage. Simplicity against complexity. The old ways and the new ways. It was about people fighting for change and other people who were content with the way things were. The story takes place in the 60’s or 70’s and is written in the first person from the mother’s perspective....   [tags: Alice Walker]

Research Papers
1499 words (4.3 pages)

Defining African-American Heritage in Everyday Use by Alice Walker Essay

- In “,Everyday Use,”, Alice Walker tells a story of a mother’,s problematic relationship with her two daughters. At this side, “,Everyday Use”, tells that how a mother little by little refuses the cursory values of her older, successful daughter at the aspect of the practical values of her younger, less fortunate daughter. On a deeper side, Alice Walker looks for the concept of heritage and its norms as it applies to African-Americans. “,Everyday Use”, is set in the late ‘,60s or early ‘,70s. This was a time when African-Americans struggled to define their personal identities and values in their cultural terms....   [tags: Everyday Use Essays]

Free Essays
2907 words (8.3 pages)

The Theme of Heritage in “Everday Use” Essay

- In her late twentieth-century short story “Everyday Use,” African-American writer Alice Walker contrasts the struggle between the main characters involving the recurring theme. The story takes place in a rural Georgia setting during the 1970s. The plot circulates around Mama, Maggie, and Dee. Throughout, heritage develops and remains a central theme revolving them. Each of these women in the Johnson family tries to stay true to heritage value. But different roles of heritage exist between each woman, so their ways of achieving this mission differs....   [tags: Character Analysis, Mama, Maggie, and Dee]

Research Papers
1457 words (4.2 pages)

Essay about Everyday Use by Alice Walker has a Great Moral

- Alice Walker’s story “Everyday Use” tells a great moral. It is narrated by Mama, and she has two daughters. Dee, the beautiful and educated daughter is visiting home. Mama says: “Maggie will be nervous until after her sister goes,” she is the shy and jealous daughter (Walker 166). Their house burned down ten or twelve years ago. Dee watched the house she hated engulf in flames, as Mama carried out a badly burned Maggie. Dee dislikes that she was raised in a poor family, and she went off to school to gain an education....   [tags: african descent, heritage, oppressive]

Research Papers
569 words (1.6 pages)

The Importance of Heritage in "Everyday Use" Essay

- 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 ]

Research Papers
844 words (2.4 pages)

Symbolism in Alice Walker's Everyday Use Essay

- Symbolism in Alice Walker's Everyday Use History in the Making Heritage is something that comes to or belongs to one by reason of birth. This may be the way it is defined in the dictionary, but everyone has their own beliefs and ideas of what shapes their heritage. In the story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, these different views are very evident by the way Dee (Wangero) and Mrs. Johnson (Mama) see the world and the discrepancy of who will inherit the family’s quilts. Symbolism such as certain objects, their front yard, and the different characters, are all used to represent the main theme that heritage is something to always be proud of....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use]

Research Papers
1557 words (4.4 pages)

Essay about Everyday Use By Alice Walker

- Everyday Use By Alice Walker In Alice Walker's short story "Everyday Use" Mama is the narrator. She speaks of her family of two daughters Maggie and Dee. 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. Throughout the story three themes consistently show. These themes show that the family is separated by shame, knowledge, and pride....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use Essays]

Research Papers
1119 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on The Themes and Narration Techniques of Everyday Use by Alice Walker

- The Themes and Narration Techniques of "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker "Everyday Use," by Alice Walker, was first published in 1973. The story opens as Maggie and her mother, a black farm woman, await a visit from Maggie's older sister, Dee, and a man who may be her husband--her mother is not sure whether they are actually married. Dee, who was always scornful of her family's way of life, has gone to college and now seems almost as distant as a film star. Maggie, who is not bright and who bears severe burn scars from a house fire many years before, is even more intimidated by her glamorous sibling....   [tags: Alice Walker's Everyday Use]

Research Papers
962 words (2.7 pages)

Essay about Point of View in Alice Walker's Everyday Use

- Point of View in Alice Walker's Everyday Use Alice Walker is making a statement about the popularization of black culture in "Everyday Use". The story involves characters from both sides of the African American cultural spectrum, conveniently cast as sisters in the story. Dee/Wangero represents the "new black," with her natural hairdo and brightly colored clothing. Maggie remains traditional: the unchanged, unaffected bystander. Nowhere in the dialogue do Walker's characters directly mention their feelings about the Americanization of African tradition....   [tags: Alice Walker Everyday Use]

Research Papers
1143 words (3.3 pages)

Related Searches

Finally, when I was old enough she taught me how to sew. I practiced and practiced every time I came to her house. Each visit I would learn something new. One day I came in and she was working at the kitchen table, there were a billion little pieces of fabric scattered all over the table. I asked her what she was making that day and she told me a quilt. I had never seen her sew a quilt before I was amazed. She was making it for an auction to raise money. She had collected several different patterns of fabric, some from her old collection and some new collection. When she finished the masterpiece, which is exactly what I would describe it as, it looked incredible.
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.
Return to