Symbolism In Alice Walker's 'Everyday Use'

Decent Essays

“Everyday Use”: Symbolism Essay
Laced with a full array of colors, patterns traced on every corner, and hours of painstaking work to create a simple quilt, the creators and users take pride in their accomplishment. Alice Walker’s short story “Everyday Use,” is a direct reflection of her own rediscovery of herself. Walker took back her maiden name to honor her great-great-great grandmother to embrace the strength her grandmother had to provide the best life for her family. Walker’s short story displays an unusual family dynamic of a mother and her two daughters that she provides for to try to give them the best life possible. The short story and Walker’s own history are elucidated with elaborate and careful detail as that of a quilt. In “Everyday Use,” the quilts expose how the importances of protecting family heritage can be crucial to the understanding of one’s self when connecting to their history.
The setting and natural elements, microscopic paragons decorate the house the three johnsons live in with symbolism specific to them. As Maggie and Mama sit in their backyard waiting for Dee to arrive, they relax under the trees that “Anyone [could] look up into the elm tree and wait for the breezes” Elm trees are most commonly know to represent strength. In the short story, “Everyday Use,” the family is illustrated as a set of three strong women who must provide for themselves in the middle of the 1970s. In their moment of relaxation away from their chores in the house, they

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