Family Past Means A Lot To The Present This Essay Is On The Short Story "Everyday Use," By Alice Walker. The Assignment Was To Describe How The Quilts Are Symbolic

588 words - 3 pages

"Everyday Use"Family Past Means a Lot to the Present In "Everyday Use," by Alice Walker we meet two sisters, Dee and Maggie, who are completely different from one another. The story takes place in the South during the 1960's. It was the time of the Black Power Movement, when African Americans were fighting for their rights. Many had to struggle and decide whether they wanted to assimilate and blend in with the world around them, or instead choose to hold onto their heritage and traditions. In our story, Maggie and her mother live the old fashioned way and cherish the traditions, while Dee just wants to move forwards and modernize. She views her mother and sister as somewhat backwards. When Dee comes to visit, Mama is faced with a dilemma: ...view middle of the document...

" Imagine! If appreciated and understood correctly, these quilts really told a story; the story of this family's past. Another great significance of the quilts is the fact that we can learn so much about the characters of Dee and Maggie by observing their differences in attitude towards the quilts. Maggie appreciated her heritage; in fact, she embraced it! She understood the story behind the quilts. Dee, on the other hand, while she thought the quilts were exotic and unusual, she did not appreciate what they represented. In the character of Dee, we see the major problem of the Black Power Movement. Just like Dee, this movement stressed appearance over substance. Dee was not interested in internalizing her heritage. She viewed the way her mother and sister lived merely as something interesting to take pictures of and tell her friends about. Because of this attitude, she thought it would be ridiculous to give the quilts to Maggie, saying about her sister: "She'd probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use." To Dee, the only appropriate way to use the quilts would be to hang them and put them on display. In conclusion, the quilts in "Everyday Use" tell us the family's story. They represent the family's struggles and triumphs. Maggie rightfully deserved to receive these quilts since she appreciated and recognized their value. I enjoyed reading this story, and I was able to identify with it. I think that everyone can relate to this story in some way since we all struggle to establish our own identity and still manage to hold onto our family's traditions.

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