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
This upsets the Narrator, Mama, she makes reference to Maggie being able to put them to everyday use, and she can always quilt more; while Dee adamantly protests. Mama makes a move to recover the quilts and Dee pulls them away and Mama thinks to herself “They already belonged to her” (Walker 456). In Mama’s perspective, the point of the quilts was the tradition of quilting, not the quilts themselves. She views Dee as someone to wants to act out the movements of appreciation of their culture, instead of passing it on. In the act of retrieving the quilts from Dee’s grip, and returning them to Maggie, Mama reveals herself as an unknowing, round character that can re-act differently than what is expected of her. Mama stands up for the true traditions in the face of her daughter, although her daughter believes herself to be the all knowing one.
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.
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
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.
The short story “Everyday Use” was written by Alice Walker and published in 1973. The story is told in first-person by “Mama,” an African-American woman residing in Georgia. Mama lives in a small but comfortable house with her physically scarred younger daughter, Maggie. Mama is preparing for the visit back home of her eldest daughter, Dee. Dee is educated and driven; however, we come to learn that most of her accomplishments come at the cost of her mother and her sister Maggie. Mama’s relationship with Dee is strained, and this creates conflict later in the story. “Everyday Use” depicts the complications between a mother and daughter’s relationship. The story examines the feelings a mother has when she believes she is not needed anymore or respected. Mama’s feelings towards both daughters are illustrated through two of Mama’s character traits, her low-self-esteem and lack of worldliness. However, because Mama has such a strong character and understanding of her family, she undergoes a significant change in her life, which then makes her into a dynamic character.
The story 'Everyday Use', written by Alice Walker, is a story of heritage, pride, and learning what kind of person you really are. In the exposition, the story opens with background information about Dee and Maggie's life, which is being told by Mama. The reader learns that Dee was the type of child that had received everything that she wanted, while Maggie was the complete opposite. The crisis, which occurs later in the story, happens when Dee all of a sudden comes home a different person than she was when she left. During the Climax, Mama realizes that she has often neglected her other child, Maggie, by always giving Dee what she wants. Therefore, in the resolution, Mama defends Maggie by telling Dee that she cannot have the
“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’s “Everyday Use” is a short story about the family relationship between a mother and her spoiled daughter. The mother, who is affectionately called “Mama” throughout the story, lives with her younger daughter, Maggie. The older child is Dee, who has not lived at home since she was sent to Augusta to school. She is preoccupied with advancing her social status and acquiring nice things. “Dee wanted nice things. A yellow Organdy dress to wear to her graduation from high school; black pumps to match a green suit…” (Walker,492). The story revolves around Dee’s visit to see Mama and Maggie, an event which obviously does not happen often. Dee only seems to visit the family in order to claim items that Mama has not yet given to her children. As usual, Mama allows Dee to come inside the home and take whatever she wants. Yet, the relationship between Mama and Dee is a complicated one. Others may say that their relationship is strained because Dee burned their first house down. However, there is no direct proof that Dee is responsible for the fire. Their relationship is contentious and uneasy because Dee is very selfish, she wants to advance her life without considering others, mainly Maggie, and she resents that Mama is satisfied with a simple life.
Mama decided to keep her word and give the quilts to Maggie because she understood what these quilts meant, “ You will not understand. The point is these quilts, these quilts!” The representation of the quilts is the symbol of the family and Dee couldn’t understand it, even with her education. Mama had more life experience and understanding of her culture then Dee would ever learn in a
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.
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.
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
However, the one thing both sisters have in common are the family quilts. These quilts are described by Mama as being made from family members who have passed, which enhance their value. Maggie values the quilts because she learned to quilt from her grandmother and aunt. She hints that she sees the quilt as a reminder of them when she mentions, “I can’t ‘member Grandma Dee without the quilts” (360). Dee,
“Everyday Use” is a short story written by a 1940’s black writer, Alice Walker. She did a fantastic job illustrating her characters. There are different types of character in her story from round to static. Her use of clear-cut symbolism prompts the reader to be able to take a deeper look into the characters of the story. When reading this story I felt anger for Dee, while for the narrator and Maggie I felt sympathy.