Everyday Use by Alice Walker

1461 Words6 Pages
How does the difference between the way Dee (Wangero) and Maggie would use the quilts represent their two different ways of defining and treating their family’s heritage? Does the narrative give approval to Dee’s way or Maggie ’s? The idea of heritage is very different from one person to another. The story of “Everyday Use” shows a dynamic picture of two sisters that see their family history and upbringing nearly opposite points of view. The quilts become the catalyst for a cultural battle between Dee’s (Wangero) new “enlightened” lifestyle and Maggie’s contentment with her upbringing.
Dee makes it clear, long before she asked for the quilts, that she has already taken her heritage for granted. Dee makes the bold proclamation that
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They are playing until he goes to sleep and the boy is hold on to his father as the poem ends. Despite these moments of lighthearted fun, there is also a undertone of fear and confusion. The father seems to be in dancing mood because he is drunk, “The whiskey on your breath, Could make a small dizzy” (Roethke, 2138). This tells the reader that the father was more than a little drunk. The smell of his breath make the child want to turn away or get some distance because it is so strong. The mother countenance is also an indicator that something is amiss. Instead of enjoy the father and son’s fun, she is concerned. It is not the pans she is worried about, but rather her son. The father is obviously rough as the son “hung on like death” to his father in order to dance. The father’s description also makes reference to his roughness as his hand “Was battered on one knuckle” possibly from a fight and “a palm caked hard with dirt” for a hard days work. The son’s mixed feeling come from the fondness he has with enjoying his father, and the fear that exists because of his father rough man. When he drink it is possible he could be either playful or violent based on his moods. This night was a good night for the boy.

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