Everyday use summary. Everyday Use Study Guide 2022-10-10
Everyday use summary
"Everyday Use" is a short story written by Alice Walker that was first published in 1973. It tells the story of a mother and her two daughters, Dee and Maggie, who have very different ideas about their African-American heritage and what it means to them.
The story begins with the mother, who is referred to as Mama, waiting for Dee to visit her from college. Dee, who has changed her name to Wangero, has always been the more ambitious and successful of the two daughters, while Maggie has remained at home with Mama. When Dee arrives, she is accompanied by a man named Hakim-a-barber, whom she introduces as her husband.
Dee is excited to show off her new identity and the African-inspired clothing that she has acquired while at college. She is critical of Mama and Maggie's traditional way of life, believing that they are too tied to the past and need to embrace a more modern and "revolutionary" way of thinking.
As Dee begins to discuss her plans to take some of Mama's quilts, which have been passed down through the generations, Mama becomes increasingly upset. She sees the quilts as more than just objects, but as a part of her family's history and cultural identity. Dee, on the other hand, sees the quilts as nothing more than decorative items that she can use to impress her friends and assert her newfound identity.
Mama ultimately decides to give the quilts to Maggie, who understands their true value and will appreciate and use them in the way that they were intended. Dee is disappointed and angry, but Mama stands firm in her decision.
In the end, "Everyday Use" is a poignant story about the importance of cultural heritage and the dangers of appropriating and commodifying the traditions and artifacts of a group or community. It is a reminder that the things we inherit from our ancestors are not just objects, but a part of who we are and where we come from, and that they should be treated with respect and appreciation.
Everyday Use Summary
Dee persists, stating she would hang the quilts for display. Mama decided Maggie would appreciate and respect the quilts and use them and not see them as mere objects. Dee says that she will take the quilts out of their hands so that she can proudly hang and display them at her home. She tells the story through the differences between her two daughters, Maggie who is a shy, awkward girl, and her eldest daughter, Wangero Dee who is a vibrant, educated young woman. Johnson snatches the quilts from Dee and gives them to Maggie thereby depicting the contemporary view of art as the right perception.
Everyday Use Everyday Use Summary and Analysis
When Dee arrives, Mama grips Maggie to prevent her from running back into the house. She promotes a new way for African Americans to cope with their differences from the rest of America and the issues that they face and offers a way to use their heritage in a proud, public way that Mama and Maggie do not 275. She wants the photos as proof of her humble beginnings and the poverty she has escaped, rather than for sentimental reasons. Mama wonders whether Hakim-a-barber and Dee are married. Her mother and Maggie see no harm in continuing to live life the way their ancestors always have.
Summary, Themes & Analysis of “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker: Symbols & Setting
Does skin complexion still both afford some and exclude others from certain opportunities? Another notable symbol of her heritage is the house that Dee hated, which burnt, almost as a way to signify a release from her family ways. Although they were to be passed onto Maggie, she allows Dee to keep the quilts. His desire to make a good first impression makes him seem awkward. Dee is educated, worldly, and deeply determined, not generally allowing her desires to be thwarted. Giving Dee the quilts would kill what Dee believes is already dead. In the end, Dee gives the quilts back.
Everyday Use: Full Plot Summary
The middle ground, where culture can be appreciated for what happened and continued as a way of life but adapted to fit a changing, modern world. As the house burned, Dee simply watched, standing apart from her mother and sister; she did not try to help them and showed no concern about Maggie's injuries. The fire burned Maggie badly, and Mama blames the incident for Maggie's reclusiveness. Dee has gone to college in a big city and is coming for a visit. After Dee "turned all her faultfinding power on him," he jilted her and married a city girl, an event that threw Dee for a loop. Dee tells her mother that she has changed her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo to protest being named after the people who have oppressed her.
"Everyday Use " Summary by Alice Walker Essay Example
By rejecting her name, she rejects the life Mama and Maggie still lead. For example, in the second paragraph Mama uses words like nervous, homely, and ashamed, making the reader feel pity for Maggie, who, as Mama adds later, walks like a lame dog sidling up to someone for attention. Rising Action 2 Mama recalls the house fire and describes her daughters. Dee has an opposing opinion to Mama and Maggie. In summary, the author says that cultural artifacts with a special reference to the quilt should be put into everyday use.
Everyday Use Plot Summary
She tells Dee to take one or two of the other quilts. This is indeed true, yet Dee's adoption of Wangero and her Ghanaian greeting read as a superficial attempt to bury a past she despises. She was seen by her mother and Maggie as a talented girl. Despite the family being poor, the mother works hard to provide for the both of her daughters. For example, when Dee first picks up the two handmade quilts, Mama notices Dee backing away "so that I couldn't reach the quilts.
"Everyday Use " Summary by Alice Walker
The short story exposes that the two sisters are attempting to reach the same goal, but in unlike methods. Dee watched the flames engulf the house she despised. By the time of her visit, Dee and she briefly mentioned friend have changed their names to traditional African ones in an attempt to appear to be connected with their roots, though it comes off as being insincere. Mama fantasizes about the kind of reunion she might have with Dee on television. Walker therefore shows that the true significance and meaning of art that can only be traced back to the culture or the root it came from.
Everyday Use: Character List
Alice Walker was born as the youngest of eight children, in Eatonon, Georgia, where her parents worked as sharecroppers. Finally we see that even Mama has a breaking point. When Dee asks if she can take the quilts, Mama tries to persuade her to take others instead: "I don't want those," Dee answers, "They are stitched around the borders by machine. Dee rebukes her immediate genealogy, claiming that all their names come from white slave owners at one point in history. Maggie tries to bolt for the house but Mama stops her. Alice Walker's choice to use first-person point of view allows the reader to connect deeply with Mama.
Analysis of 'Everyday Use' by Alice Walker
It is crucial that in this fantasy, Mama imagines herself as lighter - in skin tone, body weight and wit. People in their society are set in their ways and tend not to read many books. Get Help With Your Essay If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!. Dee's shift in attitude is more fully revealed during dinner. Basically art in its right form should be kept alive through generations on end in everyday use. If a new era began for Dee with her education, even before her neo-African kinship, with her departure, a new era also begins for Mama and Maggie, one in which their bond is closer than ever and in which Maggie has not lost out to her sister.