Alice Walker's Everyday Uses

1363 Words 5 Pages
In most households of not only the United States but from around the world, families face many conflicts. These conflicts can stem from any number of things, and often lead to more personal implications. Some family member may be upset with a choice of another, possibly by how they chose to care for their possessions or the people around them. Every single family has faced a conflict similar to this, has encountered an experience that causes issues that impact every member of the family. In fact, Alice Walker describes a family who faces similar issues, Maggie’s family. Maggie’s family consists of herself, her mother, and her old sister Dee, a small but dysfunctional family. In fact, Dee has essentially gone off the deep end in this story, …show more content…
The reason in which these two quilts cause so many issues among the family is because they were originally designated to go to Maggie, the younger, less recognized daughter. In fact, this conflict, and many of the underlying issues are what inspired Alice Walker to name this story ‘Everyday Uses’ such as the differing interpretations, the balance of power, and the evolving traditions and heritage of the family. ‘Everyday Uses’ can be interpreted in many different ways, similar to how the characters of the story displayed conflicting interpretations of the use of the treasured quilts can often provide one of many explanations of the curious title by Alice Walker. While the family members were fighting over who deserved the quilts, some of the reasoning that Dee ‘deserved’ it was because she would be able to care properly for under her direction. While this statement was already making the fight worse, she also said that Maggie would not be able to care for it, and would only use it for everyday use. She explained further …show more content…
When examining the Johnson family, there is a definite hierarchy that is displayed from scene to scene. From the top of the pyramid moving down, the family would be ordered in Dee, Momma, and then Maggie. Dee displays many traits of overconfidence and extreme criticism of others. Momma, while she means well, is very unable to control Dee and her various shenanigans. While finally, Maggie is continually put down and hurt by her older sister to no avail, “Maggie will be nervous until after her sister goes: she will stand hopelessly in corners, homely and ashamed of the burned scars down her arms and legs, eyeing her sister with a mixture of envy and awe,” (Pg. 1312). Clearly, Maggie has had to face for hardships than Dee, and has often been discouraged by Dee for various reasons. The idea of this unbalanced amount of power between the characters is definitely brought into play through the fight of the quilts. A major theme that the entire family often encounters is how they are not all equal to each other. When Dee and Momma have a major fight over the quilts and how Maggie would only use the quilts for everyday use is when this hierarchy of power comes further into play. Dee holds herself as though she is much higher than the rest of the family and she also acts as though her moral actions are

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