Critical Analysis Of Alice Walkers &Quot;Everyday Use&Quot;

653 words - 3 pages

Alice Walker's "Everyday Use," tells a story about a young woman, Dee, returning home to visit her mother and sister. What should be a happy reunion starts out as a humiliating experience for the mother and little sister, Maggie. Dee has embarked on a new life that does not include Maggie and her Mother; indeed, Dee is full of new ideas that conflict with her family's more traditional lifestyle. Dee has even managed to change her name to Wangero. The mother is very patient and tolerates Dee's actions, and her belittling attitude. The story comes to a climax when Dee asks for some of the old quilts that have been stowed away in a trunk. The mother is reluctant to give the quilts to Dee, and this causes strife between the two. I think the quilts symbolize the contrasting ideas about heritage that Dee and her mother ebrace.

    One example of the conflicting ideas about heritage is that the mother sees the practicality of the quilts; whereas, Dee doesn't think they should be used, only looked at. The mother believes every piece of fabric is a little piece of her ancestry because, when the quilts were made, they were stitched  from scraps of old clothes worn by family members. Dee even says, "These are all pieces of dresses Grandma used to wear." The mother states, "Maggie knows how to quilt." This doesn't simply mean that she can quilt, it means that she has been raised to know that the quilts can be used everyday and patched when needed, thus continuing the family heritage. If Dee doesn't use the quilts for a practical purpose, it will end a family tradition.

    Another example of conflicting ideas about the quilts is the fact that when the mother tried to give them to Dee when she was leaving for college, Dee dismissed them as "old fashion and out of style." Her first time away...

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