Analysis Of Walker 's Everyday Use

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Analysis of Walker’s “Everyday Use” The short story “Everyday Use,” by Alice Walker, contains multiple different literary elements. History and heritage play a key role in the development and conclusion of this rather intriguing story. Although history and heritage are important, the driving factors of this story are the literary elements. In particular the elements of symbols, characterization, and point of view in this story are significant. The use of symbols in this short story provide a deeper meaning to the emotions the characters have and are essential to the story as a whole. The major symbol in the short story are the quilts. The quilts are where the title “Everyday Use” comes from. Walker shows this by having Dee exclaim, “[s]he’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use” (556) when Mama proclaimed that the quilts will go with Maggie instead of Dee. Mama realizes that Dee does not need anything extra in life because of her escape to the outside world. However, Maggie is literally scared from her past and the sentimental value behind the quilts can provide her with comfort. Maggie views the quilts as a way to hold on to something from the family heritage and potentially keep the family heritage alive. Meanwhile, Dee has moved on with her life and even changed her name. By doing this, she is slowly eliminating her past and all ties with it resulting in a falsely perceived view of the quilts. Dee talks about how she will “[h]ang [the quilts]” (556)

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