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 family heritage, has been promised the quilts. The two daughters each have opposing views on the value and worth of the different items in their lives. Walker uses this conflict to make the point that the significance of heritage is more important than style; so Mama she decides based upon the appearance, personalities and the idea about the family artifacts.
Maggie is not as attractive as Dee. She is thin and an awkward girl. Her mother says “good looks pass her by.” Furthermore, she carries herself like someone who has low self-esteem, which her mother describes as “chin on chest, eyes on ground.” Maggie has characteristics like her mother, she is an example that heritage in both knowledge and form passes from one generation to another. Mama is a full-bodied woman who does the needed upkeep if their home and wears overalls daily because she does not care about her appearance compared to her eldest daughter. Dee, on the other hand, is an attractive woman in college. Mama describes Dee as having, “nice hair and a full figure.” Dee takes lots of pride in her appearance, she dresses in fashionable clothes.
Besides their appearances, Maggie and Dee have unique personalities. When Maggie is first introduced in the story, she is nervous about her sister’s visit. Dee’s arrival makes Maggie so uncomfortable, that she tries to leave the house. Maggie was also intimidated by her sister Dee, when she was afraid to confront her sister about the quilts. Maggie gives in and says that Dee may have the quilts because she is not use to “winning.” But unlike Maggie, Dee is bold. When she was a young girl, she...