Maggie and Dee; Two Sisters, Two Worlds Essay

1084 Words Mar 26th, 2010 5 Pages
February 24, 2010

Maggie and Dee; Two Sisters, Two Worlds 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, who is self-conscious of her appearance, and will “stand hopelessly in corners, homely and ashamed of
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Maggie who knows how to quilt and chewed checkerberry snuff, already knows what her life has to offer. Her knowledge of her future is derived from her knowledge of her ancestry. There appears to be no rancor in her acceptance of this. When the climactic scene occurs and Dee asks “Can I have these quilts?” (145), Maggie’s first implied reaction is one of surprise and anger; “I heard something fall in the kitchen, and a minute later the kitchen door slammed” (145). But as someone “never used to winning anything, or having anything reserved for her” (146), Maggie succumbs and offers to let Dee have them. Although “Maggie knows how to quilt” (146), she is able to comprehend the deeper personal value of the quilts, and states that she “can ‘member Grandma Dee without the quilts”(146). Despite their value as an item of everyday use, the quilts are meaningful to Maggie, much in the way they are to her mother who remembers having quilted them with Big Dee. The scraps, the bits and pieces 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.” (145) hold deep significance to Maggie. Dee, on the other hand, is portrayed in a very different light by Walker. Commencing with her physical appearance; “Dee is lighter than Maggie, with nicer hair and a fuller figure” (141). However, their differences do not end there. Dee is intelligent,
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