In the story, a dispute comes about, which was who should receive the grandma’s quilts even though they were already promised to Maggie. Dee argued her sister wouldn’t appreciate the quilts; she would put them to everyday use rather than hang them. Mama explained that was the purpose of the quilts to be used; it held no sentimental value because it was a materialistic thing. At this part of the story, Mama conformed to Maggie’s needs by giving her the quilts instead of obeying Dee’s (Wangero’s) demands as usual.
In the short story, “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, a foil is shown between the two sisters in the story. While the two sisters, Maggie and Dee, are two way different girls, they are not completely different and they share some similarities like all sisters do. Maggie and Dee are an excellent example of how even if two sisters may be almost complete opposites, sisters always have some similarities to each other.
“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.
Alice Walker juxtaposes Maggie with her sister, Dee, to demonstrate how society denigrates not only African-American women but women in general in the 1970s. Early on in the story, Maggie is described as nervous, hopelessly standing in the corner. Later she is described as nearly hidden from view. On a metaphorical level, Maggie is the symbol of the lack of power women held in the 1970s. She is the epitome of the silent female homemaker. On the other hand, Dee is assertive, “will look you right in the eye.” She serves as a symbol of the free, successful modern woman. However, her assertiveness might come off as cockiness, and too much pride. By contrasting Maggie and Dee, Alice Walker is expressing both sides of the female role during that time.
The short story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, the story is about two sisters and a mother. Despite the family being poor, the mother works hard to provide for the both of her daughters. Dee is the eldest daughter and despises where she came from. Dee later on gains an education, attends college, and obtains a degree. In the story she is going through an identity crisis and changes her name to "Wanegro." On the other hand, Maggie is a shy young girl. At such a young age, she is still suffering from a tragic event. Maggie is intimidated by Dee; solely since Dee carries many accomplishments and her appearance. Soon after, Dee remembers the
Dee is a controlling person who always wanted everything to herself only and don't want anybody to take something more than her. And that appeared when mama said that the quilts which were handmade by their grandma Dee, that she would give it to Maggie, Dee was very angry for that and she wanted to take the quilts herself not because she wanted, just because she don't like anybody to take something more than her and wants everything for herself only. Dee was well educated and didn't liked her mother's and sister's way of living so she traveled and when
As the two sisters have different appearance and personalities, they have different perspectives on heritage that contrast each other. Walker uses quilts to symbolize the heritage and describes the two girls' view on quilts to show their perspectives on heritage. Maggie thinks of heritage as an attachment to her ancestors. She believes the everyday use of the inherited materials, how much ever value they may retain, will keep her connected to her ancestors. She values the attachment to the ancestors more than the inherited material itself. When she gives up the quilts to Dee, she states, "I can 'member Grandma Dee with the quilts." Dee, on the other hand, thinks of heritage as something that has an extrinsic value, for example its aesthetic value as an antique. She believes that the proper way to accept and preserve her heritage is to not put it into her everyday use but to cherish it only as an accessory. Such an idea is revealed when Dee says, "Maggie can't appreciate these quilts! She'd probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use." When the mother asks Dee what she would do with the quilts, she says, "Hang them" (1177), which shows that Dee thinks of the quilts only as tangible antiques.
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.
Because, the quilts had been made by the grandmother’s hands, the work that went into the quilts is the reason for importance of saving or preserving them as a family heirloom. “Maggie”, knows the true value of the quilts, “Dee” seems to view them as any other common blanket. Alice Walker stated in the story that Maggie felt like the world never learned to tell Dee no. That is a direct reference to the mother never standing up to Dee and asserting her rightful place.
In the short story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, the two main characters, Maggie and Dee, are sisters who are very opposite to each other. Throughout the story, the girl’s differences become evident through their physical appearances, personalities, lifestyle decisions, and the way they feel about their heritage.
Second, there were some cultural differences, Maggie and Mama lived in a house located in a pasture with animals, and you could tell through Mama's description of Dee that she was more modernized probably a city Girl. When Dee/Wangero came to visit she wore a bright dress with loud colors, bangles and gold earrings. Mama said Dee's dress had so many yellows and oranges it was enough to throw back the sun (109). Maggie wore a pink skirt and red blouse that enveloped her body (107). Dee was an educated woman having graduated from High School. Mama on the other hand never made it past the second grade because the school she attended was closed down in 1927. Mama said that, "Colored asked fewer questions than they do now" referring to why the school closed (109). Circumstances such as age, education, and living arrangements dictated their
The author of “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker, portrays that society values people like Dee more so than Maggie. The two sisters in the story are described as two complete opposites in personality, how they carry themselves, and even overall appearance. Walker describes Maggie with a quote, “she has been like this, chin on chest, eyes on ground, feet in shuffle, ever since the fire that burned the other house to the ground” (71). This description of Maggie relates to someone who is clearly shy, not very confident, and appears closed off to the world. Society does not appear to value people who are not very confident and not open to the world in general. Describing the illiteracy of Maggie also adds to the view of society valuing Dee over Maggie.
Mama realizes that Dee doesn’t deserve the quilts when Dee explodes on her family and looks at her mother with hatred. Dee doesn’t see the people behind the quilts just like how she doesn’t see the people behind her name. Maggie was a part of the quilt. She could continue the art of quilting. That is a part of her family’s inheritance and heritage. The things Maggie learned from her family created who she was as a woman. Mama takes the quilts from her and
The genuine appreciation of heritage and family is the focus of Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use”. Dee and Maggie’s characters are the vessels that Walker uses to demonstrate the difference between appreciating possessions for their usefulness as well as their personal significance and their contrasting value as a trendy, materialistic connection. There is a palpable difference between Maggie and Dee, both in physical appearance as well as in personality traits and their treatment of the personal artifacts that come into play within the story is very telling of this.
Maggie's personality is closely connected to the ego section because of her powerful desire to do right and to solve her problems realistically. Mama explains that "after dinner Dee went to the trunk at the foot of [the] bed...Maggie hung back in the kitchen over the dishpan" (Walker 95). As Dee tries to usurp the quilts from her mother, Maggie tries to help her mother by doing the dishes. Maggie tries to act morally while Dee tries to take advantage of her mother. While discussing the rightful owner of the quilts, Maggie said, " 'She can have them, Mama'...like somebody used to never winning anything, or having anything reserved for her" (Walker 97). Instead of fighting over the quilts, Maggie willingly gives them to her sister. Even though Maggie wishes to have them, she does not want to produce conflict in her family. Maggie is accustomed to getting less than her sister and has an unselfish personality. Her actions are parallel to an ego because the ego defines moral actions.