Analysis Of Patches: Quilt And Community In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

706 words - 3 pages

Analysis of Patches: Quilt and Community in Alice Walker's Everyday Use

In a critique titled “Patches: Quilt and Community in Alice Walker’s ‘Everyday Use’” (Short Story Criticism: Excerpts from Criticism of the Works of Short Fiction Writers, 1990), the authors reveal that tradition and the explanation of holiness were key elements throughout the story. The writers began the analysis by discussing the significance of a quilt; a quilt is a complete piece of artwork that is essentially made up of fragments. These patchwork quilts, when effectively put together, exposed a way of life. The Africans traditional way of life was one of sacredness and usefulness. By using scraps from old clothes they were able to create a masterpiece that could be passed down from one generation to the next. The title “Everyday Use” implies that quilts, while they may be priceless heirlooms, are also made to function.
The Johnson’s are a typical African family that has settled in America. The mother, and narrator of the story, is a working woman who often imagines herself as someone else, someone who her children would not be ashamed to be seen with. While awaiting the arrival of Dee, her eldest daughter and a “goddess” (415) in the eyes of her family, she dreams of being on a TV program where a host reunites long lost family members. As she greets her daughter who has been away at college, she is not only one hundred pounds thinner but is beautiful in the eyes of her children. However, she lives in reality where her overweight, masculine, and unattractive body serves a purpose. Regardless of her outward appearance, she provides food, shelter, and religion for her daughters.
As her daughter arrives, she looks around the yard and recalls the old house. The old house which went up in flames and terribly burned Maggie, her youngest girl. Dee, however, was happy to see it go up in a blaze. In her eyes, the house was a disgrace. The older of the two girls, she liked the finer things in life. She was energetic and loved...

Find Another Essay On Analysis of Patches: Quilt and Community in Alice Walker's Everyday Use

Everyday Use by Alice Walker Essay

966 words - 4 pages Everyday Use by Alice Walker Through contrasting family members and views in "Everyday Use", Alice Walker illustrates the importance of understanding our present life in relation to the traditions of our own people and culture. Using careful descriptions and attitudes, Walker demonstrates which factors contribute to the values of one's heritage and culture; she illustrates that these are represented not by the possession of objects or mere

Alice Walker’s Short Story Everyday Use

904 words - 4 pages finally recognized that she, not Dee is the daughter who understands heritage and the importance of connecting with one’s ancestors. At the end of the story the quite, self conscious Maggie smiles, “a real smile, not scared,” (109) while dismissing Dee as shallow and self- serving. Work Cited Baker, Houston and Charlotte Pierce–Baker. “Patches: Quilts and Community in Alice Walker ‘Everyday Use.” The Southern Review, Louisiana State University

Ugliness and Beauty in Alice Walker's Color Purple

2572 words - 10 pages kisses instead of licks, and work hard for you too" (115). Shug eventually discovers what Nettie had knew all along, that Celie is a beautiful person and she is not ugly by any means. Fortunately, by the end of that novel almost everyone in the novel discovers this as well, even Albert. The description of Alice Walker's characters throughout the novel are similar to those of Flannery O'Connor, a writer that Walker has always looked up to

Political Critique of Race Relations in Alice Walker's Color Purple

2238 words - 9 pages of the Happy Ending." Plotting Change. Ed. Linda Anderson. London: Edward Arnold, 1993. 85-96.   Sekora, John. "Is the Slave Narrative a Species of Autobiography?" Studies in Autobiography. Ed. James Olney. New York: Oxford UP, 1988. 99-111.   Shelton, Frank W. "Alienation and Integration in Alice Walker's The Color Purple." CLA Journal 28 (1985): 382-92.   Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. "Explanation and Culture

Metamorphosis of Celie in Alice Walker's Color Purple

1102 words - 4 pages Metamorphosis of Celie in The Color Purple   In the book The Color Purple (1982) by Alice Walker, the main character Celie develops from an abused, shy and browbeaten teenage girl into a strong, mature and self-confident woman. This metamorphisis is due to five major factors: Celie observes other successful women, she receives love and appreciation, changes in Celie’s view of God, Celie’s maturation and a bit of luck. As Celie

Celie's Transformation in Alice Walker's Color Purple

1087 words - 4 pages Celie's Transformation in The Color Purple       Celie is not a typical protagonist. In Alice Walker's The Color Purple, the main character Celie is an ugly, poor girl who is severely lacking in self-confidence. However, Celie transforms throughout the course of the novel and manages to realize herself as a colorful, beautiful, and proud human being. Celie becomes a powerful individual.   The Color Purple follows Celie's

Celie's Pain in Alice Walker's Color Purple

1495 words - 6 pages Celie's Pain in The Color Purple Molestation is a topic that is painful to think about, and even more difficult to write about. Yet Alice Walker chose this as the central theme of her novel The Color Purple. Walker's work centers around a poor African American girl Celie. Celie keeps a diary, and the first section of the novel is an excerpt from her diary. After reading the excerpt, the reader comes to realize that Celie is a fourteen-year

Alice Walker's The Color Purple: Celie's Struggles Expressed in Letters

538 words - 2 pages Alice Walker's The Color Purple: Celie's Struggles Expressed in Letters "Dear God, Gets me out of here. I needs to love and laugh. I needs to be free of this bastard and these white people." At a very young age, Celie begins writing letters to God. In her letters she explains her fears about her stepfather raping her, her mother and sister being beat, and her fears for her sister, Nettie. This epistolary novel (a novel in which the

Alice Walker's Color Purple - Historical and Political Insight

727 words - 3 pages King Jr. emerged in 1957 as the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. From that point on, Dr. King was a great advocate for peaceful racial equality and a person who Alice Walker looked up to tremendously. Alice was so impressed with MLK that she traveled to Washington, DC in August of 1963 to hear his “I Have a Dream” address. She listened to it from a tree limb that she had climbed on to. The black community was in great

Leaving the Past Behind in Everyday Use

1426 words - 6 pages Leaving the Past Behind in Everyday Use       Everyday Use by Alice Walker is a short story about how people get caught up in the superficial value of material things, and the jealousy this desire causes.  In this short story Dee, the eldest daughter, was always ashamed by the way she lived during her childhood years.  As she was educated more and more, her feelings of hatred for poverty and ignorance grew intensely.  After she

Comparing Culture in Everyday Use, A&P, and Blue Winds Dancing

1583 words - 6 pages its culture. She comments after making her decision, "[T]he two of us just sat there enjoying... " (90). They enjoyed their culture; they lived it. In this way, the culture plays a heavy role in Alice Walker's Everyday Use. Next, while Islamic-African-American culture plays a large role in Everyday Use, Updike's A & P centers around a 1960s generation American culture. This role is in first exposing and perpetuating the conflict. Three bikini

Similar Essays

The Meaning Of Heritage In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

994 words - 4 pages . Works Cited Allen-Polley, Kathryn. "Dee?s Heritage." Ode to Friendship. Ed. Connie Bellamy. Virginia Wesleyan College, 1998. Baker and Pierce-Baker, Houston and Charlotte. "Patches: Quilts and Community in Alice Walker?s ?Everyday Use.?" Alice Walker: Critical Perspectives Past and Present. Eds. Henry Louis Gates and K. A. Appiah. New York: Amistad , 1993. Callahan, John. "Review of Love and Trouble." Short Story Criticism Vol. 5. (Essay date 1974). Walker, Alice. "Everyday Use." Harper Anthology of Fiction. Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York: Harper Collins, 1991.

Adopted Heritage In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

1722 words - 7 pages        Each of us is raised within a culture, a set of traditions handed down by those before us. As individuals, we view and experience common heritage in subtly differing ways. Within smaller communities and families, deeply felt traditions serve to enrich this common heritage. Alice Walker's "Everyday Use" explores how, in her eagerness to claim an ancient heritage, a woman may deny herself the substantive personal experience of familial

Acceptance And Denial In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

777 words - 3 pages Mama, the protagonist in Alice Walker's short story, Everyday Use is a woman with a solid foundation and tough roots. The qualities that society would find admirable within Mama are the same qualities that Dee, Mama's oldest daughter, would spurn, thinking them only the qualities of a down home, uneducated, country bumpkin. Dee, the story's main antagonist, is proof that children are not necessarily products of their environment. From

Everyday Use By Alice Walker Essay

685 words - 3 pages 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. Walker writes of the conflict between two Black cultures. Dee and Maggie are sisters whom do not share the same ideals. Mama is torn between two children with different perspectives of what life truly means