Everyday Use Essay

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In the short story Everyday Use, by Alice Walker, the short story is narrated by a black woman in the South who is faced with the decision to give away two quilts to one of her two daughters. 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. Dee is insistent to possess these heirlooms of family heritage, while Maggie is forbearing in allowing Mama to make her own decision as to who should receive the quilts. Dee shows a lack of appreciation, disrespect, and a distancing behavior towards her mother and sister. Mama …show more content…
This unfolds as a determiner in Mama's decision as she gives the quilts to the one who will overall appreciate them.

Dee is clearly distancing herself from her mother and sister. She goes so far as to change her name from Dee to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo, saying, "I couldn't bear it any longer being named after the people who oppress me." Yet, she wants the quilts that are made by the very people that she despises. Mama is uneducated but not so ignorant as to realize Dee's unrooted, superficial motivation to have the quilts. "For her, heritage is something to be displayed on the coffee table and on the wall." Dee blatantly disrespects her mother's authority and free will.

Dee is already claiming the quilts to herself, even though Mama has never said "yes" that she could have them. Dee challenges Mama's authority by grasping the quilts and moving back as her mother tries to touch them. By doing this, she also disregards Mama's free will to give the quilts to whomever she would like. Mama observes that if Dee cannot preserve the unity of the family by honoring her mother, then how will she be able to appreciate the quilts in a respectable way. Dee has nothing but put-downs for Maggie, implying that she is more deserving to receive the quilts. She is using

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