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Alice Walker Everyday Use Essay

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It is the mother s point of view which permits the reader s understanding of both Dee and Maggie. Seen from a greater distance, both young women might seem stereotypical one a smart but ruthless college girl, the other a sweet but ineffectual homebody.

The mother s close scrutiny redeems Dee and Maggie, as characters, from banality. For example, Maggie s shyness is explained in terms of the terrible fire she survived: Her eyes seemed stretched open, blazed open by the flames reflected in them. Her drive for a better life has cost Dee dearly, and her mother commentary reveals that Dee, too, has scars, though they are less visible than Maggie s.

In particular, the contested quilts become symbolic of the story s theme; in a sense, they represent the past of the women in the family. Worked on by two generations, they contain bits of fabric from even earlier eras, including a scrap of a Civil War uniform worn by Great Grandpa Ezra. The debate over how the quilts should be treated sed or hung on the wall summarizes the black woman s dilemma about how to face the future.

Can her life be seen as continuous with that of her ancestors For Maggie, the answer is yes. Not only will she use the quilts, but also she will go on making more she has learned the skill from Grandma Dee. For Dee, at least for the present, the answer is no. She would frame the quilts and hang them on the wall, distancing them from her present life and aspirations; to put them to everyday use would be to admit her status as a member of her old-fashioned family.

Robert from Artscolumbia Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Back to top [wp-structuring-markup-breadcrumb]. She takes pictures of Mama, Maggie, the house, and a cow that wanders by.

The house that she despises has now become a focal point to her. Dee is intensely interested in the benches her father has built and the origins of an old dasher and turn top. Dee now seems to embrace the heritage she so quickly distances herself from in the beginning. She gives a sense of appreciation for the things she once found to be vile and an appreciation for her mother and sister.

Even though Dee is interested in her heritage, Mama realizes that Dee is still distancing herself from the family and the true meaning of her heritage.

Mama informs her that the name Dee can be traced back through the family tree to the Civil war and even before that. Dee dismisses this explanation. Through the changing of her name, Dee feels that she has connected with her African roots. However, she is truly disconnecting herself from the roots of her family. She tells Mama she will do artistic things with the item.

All Dee can see in the items is the value they hold as art objects. Mama tells Dee she has promised the quilts to Maggie and Dee flies into a rage. Mama tells Dee she hopes Maggie will use the quilts because that is what they were made for.

When Mama asks Dee what will she do with the quilts, Dee responds that she will hang them on the wall. By hanging the quilts on the wall, Dee is further distancing herself from her heritage: Mama has a revelation as Maggie walks into the room. Mama realizes that Maggie is the one that has a real meaning of their heritage. Maggie knows how to quilt because her ancestors taught her.

Maggie knows the stories behind all of the things in the house that she and Mama put to everyday use. Maggie is the one that understand that heritage is the knowledge and memories that are inside her, not tangible objects. At this, Dee venomously tells her mother and Maggie that they do not understand their heritage. The irony is that it is Dee that does not understand her heritage. Heritage is what is inside Mama and Maggie, the memories and the skills they have inherited from their kindred.

True heritage comes from the everyday use of the memories and skills that are passed down from generation to generation. Dee personifies what heritage is not. Heritage is not hung on a wall, admired for its beauty, and then forgotten. Mama realizes this in the end and sees that Maggie is the future of their heritage. Accessed September 14, Leave your email and we will send you an example after 24 hours If you contact us after hours, we'll get back to you in 24 hours or less.


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Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: Race and Rural Versus Urban. The issue of race is viewed and discussed differently in country versus urban settings and this issue is one of the main themes throughout “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker. The rural setting that Dee’s mother is immersed in is based on the idea of hard work.

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In Alice Walker's "Everyday Use," the character of Dee is romantically involved with Johnny T and later with Hakim-a-barber. Compare and contrast Dee's relationship with .

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Everyday Use study guide contains a biography of Alice Walker, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. - Everyday Use by Alice Walker In the story 'Everyday Use', by Alice Walker, the value of ones culture and heritage are defined as a part of life that should not be looked upon as history but as a living existence of the past.

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In the short story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, she introduces a rural black family who struggle with the meaning of heritage. To Mama, the narrator, and Maggie, the youngest daughter, heritage is whom they are, where they come from, and the everyday use of the things around them. The short story "Everyday Use", written by Alice Walker, is about an African-American mother and her two daughters. The story evolves around one daughter, Dee, coming back home to visit her family. As one is introduced to the characters in "Everyday Use", it becomes apparent that the two sisters, Maggie and Dee, are very different.