Everyday Use By Alice Walker Essay

1916 words - 8 pages

How does the difference between the way Dee (Wangero) and Maggie would use the quilts represent their two different ways of defining and treating their family’s heritage? Does the narrative give approval to Dee’s way or Maggie ’s?

The idea of heritage is very different from one person to another. The story of “Everyday Use” shows a dynamic picture of two sisters that see their family history and upbringing nearly opposite points of view. The quilts become the catalyst for a cultural battle between Dee’s (Wangero) new “enlightened” lifestyle and Maggie’s contentment with her upbringing.
Dee makes it clear, long before she asked for the quilts, that she has already taken her heritage for ...view middle of the document...

Yet, Maggie appreciated the quilt far more than Dee ever could. The younger sister had learned the craft of quilt and was taught be the women that made these heirlooms. Dee’s assessment that Maggie would destroy them is foolish since the quilt had never been used and stored for safe keeping for so many years. Maggie’s love for quilting and the heritage is apparent by her desire to stay in the life she was raised in. She is not offended by living a simple life like Dee is.
In the end, the story pushes the reader to believe that this simple unmanipulated life is best and it was the right decision for the Mama to keep the quilts for Maggie. The meaning of heritage is different for each woman in the story, but the hope of honoring the past is embodied in Maggie.

Theodore Roethke - “My Papa’s Waltz”
What in the poem indicates that the boy’s feelings for his father are ambivalent or that there are some conflicts in their relationship?

In Theodore Roethke poems, “My Papa’s Waltz,” the boy’s views of his father are conflicted by his love for his dad and his uneasiness over the father’s drunken state of being. It is possible that the voice of this poems is looking back at himself as a young child, “At every step you missed, My right ear scraped a buckle” (Roethke, 2138). This gives us an image of a little boy dancing with his father, perhaps standing on his shoes and only being as tall as his father’s waist. Being such a young boy, the speaker is wanting to bring a sense of innocence to the child’s love and genuine confusion and discomfort about how he feels about his father’s drunkenness.
There is deep sense of fun and satisfaction at time in the poem, “We romped until the pan, Slid from the kitchen shelf” and “Then you waltzed me of bed” (Roethke, 2138). The boy feels like there is fun and excitement in the fact the dancing is so lively it is know pan’s off the shelf. The word “romped” delivers with it some connotation that is deliberate. The word is selected because of its association with a good time and makes us believe the son enjoys his time dancing. In the end, the son is taken to bed still dance with his father. They are playing until he goes to sleep and the boy is hold on to his father as the poem ends.
Despite these moments of lighthearted fun, there is also a undertone of fear and confusion. The father seems to be in dancing mood because he is drunk, “The whiskey on your breath, Could make a small dizzy” (Roethke, 2138). This tells the reader that the father was more than a little drunk. The smell of his breath make the child want to turn away or get some distance because it is so strong. The mother countenance is also an indicator that something is amiss. Instead of enjoy the father and son’s fun, she is concerned. It is not the pans she is worried about, but rather her son. The father is obviously rough as the son “hung on like death” to his father in order to dance. The father’s description also makes...

Find Another Essay On Everyday Use by Alice Walker

Everyday Use, by Alice Walker Essay

1415 words - 6 pages me and I get happy and shout. I did something I never done before: hugged Maggie to me, then dragged her on into the room, snatched the quilts out of Miss Wangero's hands and dumped them into Maggie's lap” (Walker par 60). When reading “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, a reader can definitely see how Walker alters Mama’s attitude toward her two daughters by the conclusion of the story. Mama goes from having the attitude of willingness to do

Everyday Use by Alice Walker Essay

967 words - 4 pages Myeisha WalkerEnglish 1102H. PapaganJune 24, 2014In "Everyday Use", Alice Walker tells the story of a mother and her two daughters' conflicting ideas about their identities and ancestry. She personifies the different sides of culture and heritage in the characters of Mama, Dee, and Maggie, with each of them having different qualities and views on life. Mama is a simple, countrywoman who values her culture and heritage for its everyday use as

Everyday Use by Alice Walker

722 words - 3 pages Everyday Use by Alice Walker In the short story Everyday Use, by Alice Walker, is narration by an African American woman in the South who is faced with the ultimate decision to whom she should give away the two quilts. Dee, her oldest daughter who is visiting from college, perceives the quilts as popular fashion and believes they should undoubtedly be given to her. Maggie, her youngest daughter, who still lives at home and understands the

“Everyday Use” by Alice Walker

1161 words - 5 pages , but their personalities most times remain the same. Works Cited Walker, Alice. “Everyday Use.” Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. 4th ed. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Boston: Pearson, 2006. 69-76. Print.

Everyday Use, by Alice Walker

1535 words - 6 pages Everyday Use, written by Alice Walker is a short story narrated from the eyes of the character Mama. The author uses cultural symbolism throughout her work to tell the tale of struggle between a mother and her two daughters. The tale unfolds at Mama’s house during the Civil rights movement in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when African Americans were struggling to define themselves and their heritage, the dialog shows conflicting views

Symbolism in Everyday Use by Alice Walker

1856 words - 7 pages sister goes: she will stand hopelessly corners homely and ashamed of the scars burns and scars down her arms and legs, eyeing her sister with a mixture of envy and awe.” This indicates how she is insecure about the burns and scars she has and how she is ashamed of them. “As stated by Enotes’ “what is the main symbol in ‘Everyday Use’ by Alice Walker, and how does it enhance the…” “Thus the quilts can be said to symbolize the heritage of the

Symbolism in Everyday Use by Alice Walker

1240 words - 5 pages In “Everyday Use” Alice Walker used symbolism throughout the story. Symbolism is an object that has a special meaning for person. For example, Puerto Rican flag have one star and the star represent one colonies of United State. It also has three stripes. The stripes represent when you United State freedom us from Spain. The Egyptians use symbols to communicate by writing. Symbols are use in math equations, shape and sets of numbers. In the

Symbolism in Everyday Use By Alice Walker

1849 words - 7 pages this short story ‘Everyday Use’ Alice Walker uses symbolism for the objects that had been passed from the ancestors. The story “Everyday Use “by Alice Walker, is loaded with symbolism and heritage. It shows the symbolism and true heritage. It shows how objects have symbolism, but not just that, it shows the greatness and true meaning of heritage. In “Everyday Use” Wangero, a beautiful black women that always put down her friends and family goes

"Everyday Use" written by Alice Walker

535 words - 2 pages The story of Maggie Johnson in Alice Walker's Everyday Use is a story about a young girl who has many challenges in life. It is a story about poverty and stereotypes that often affect many young girls in similar situations. Maggie is a survivor who through the love of her mother is able to rise above these negative attitudes and begin to appreciate herself and her gifts.Maggie Johnson is a young, shy African American woman. She has a thin body

The Use of Symbolism in Everyday Use by Alice Walker

1879 words - 8 pages her family history making her an exceptional representation of her heritage. Maggie, unlike Dee in “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, was not caught up in only the materialistic things of her Mora(5) heritage,but in the people who shaped it. White goes on to say that “Maggie is very aware of her heritage” whereas “Dee, who knew nothing of her history was not sure what she would even do with a dasher.” An extensive difference between Maggie and Dee

Point of View in Everyday Use by Alice Walker

561 words - 2 pages Point of View in "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker Point of view is described as the perspective from which a story is told (Literature, G25). In the story "Everyday Use" the point of view is that of first person narrator or major character. The story is told by the mother in the story. The theme of this story is that of a mother who is trying to cope with changing times and two daughters who are completely different. Having the story

Similar Essays

“Everyday Use” By Alice Walker Essay

1422 words - 6 pages . Dee see quilts hanging on a wall, her mother sees her mother and her grandmother sewing pieces of cloth together; a cloth that represents their family. Alice Walker examines “Everyday Use” in various aspects. Walker sets up a contrast to reveal “an ironic challenge by the divine power of education that separated Dee from her family, but it has also separated Dee from a true sense of self” (SparkNotes). Dee’s education separated her from her

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

Everyday Use By Alice Walker Essay

938 words - 4 pages Everyday Use by Alice Walker In "Everyday Use," Alice Walker stresses the importance of heritage. She employs various ways to reveal many aspects of heritage that are otherwise hard to be noticed. In the story, she introduces two sisters with almost opposite personalities and different views on heritage: Maggie and Dee. She uses the contrast between the two sisters to show how one should accept and preserve one's heritage. Beyond the

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