Family Heritage In Everyday Use: For Your Grandmama

Improved Essays
Heritage is something that is handed down from our ancestors, it is a tradition. In the short story, Everyday Use: For Your Grandmama, Maggie and Dee view these traditions in extraordinarily different ways. In order to understand their views, we must understand the characters. Maggie, the sister of Dee, is a nervous, uneducated young black woman. Because of a past tragedy she views herself as ugly. She never received the same education her sister, but I am not sure she truly wanted it. Although she may be maladjusted, Maggie seems to be sympathetic and generous. Maggie is sheltered from the outside world, and because of that she has not been able to find herself as an individual. Dee on the other hand is quite the opposite. From a young …show more content…
She senses herself as superior to both her sister and momma, and her selfish ways are portrayed throughout the story. Understanding the differences between these two women will allow us to understand more clearly the difference in attitude toward the family, which is quite different. Maggie views the family heritage as something to be proud of. She remembers stories and loved ones. She was willing to learn the homemaking skills and holds these traditions close to her heart. Dee’s attitude on the other hand, viewed family tradition as something to put on display. She feels embarrassed of how she was brought up, not even remembering the true meaning behind stories or loved ones. Dee wasn’t interested in her family heritage, she was too caught up in the history of her race and …show more content…
She clearly remembers her loved ones. In the story, Hakim the barber was asking if the dash was whittled by Uncle Buddy, but Maggie clearly remembers that it was whittled by Aunt Dee’s first husband Henry, but he was nicknamed Stash. Maggie was more than eager to learn family traditions such as quilting as she spent many days quilting with her grandmama. This is evident to us, as in the story, Maggie’s momma talks about how if the quilts turn into rags, Maggie could always make more since she knew how to quilt. Quilting just wasn’t a hobby for her, this was part of her tradition, and she holds these traditions close to her. When her sister Dee wanted to take these quilts she became upset. In the story when Dee asks for these quilts, Momma heard “something fall in the kitchen, and a minute later the kitchen door slam.” (Walker, 1973, p. 259). Maggie was upset that her sister waned these quilts. How could her sister just take these items without having the memory of the loved ones with it? Maggie loved her family and their traditions she was not embarrassed of her history and planned on continuing on the

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Dee can only see her family through external objects and artifacts. During the argument between Mama and Dee, Maggie gives the ok to take the quilts and stated that she can remember her Grandma Dee, the maker of the quilts, without the quilts. Maggie being different than Dee in how they view she has viewed her life, carries the family heritage and history within herself. While Dee looks at physical history, Maggie has the learned skills of quilt making. Maggie remembers her family and the time they shared because she wasn’t focused on the outside world.…

    • 731 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    In “Everyday Use”, Dee ended up not getting what she wanted. She had previously asked Mama, “Can I have these old quilts?” (847). When Mama said no, Dee got angry and said Maggie would not appreciate them anyway. In the end Maggie ended up keeping the quilts. Mama “… snatched up the quilts out of Miss Wangero’s hands and dumped them into Maggie’s lap” (849).…

    • 1176 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Dee wasn’t even going to use the quilts, she would’ve just took them and kept them in a closet or something. She didn’t actually care about them, but the mother made a good and the right choice. This is a great message to live by, from both the mom and the daughters. The mom finally realized that she has been making the wrong decision for the past years. And the daughter should always love your family and be proud to be a part of it.…

    • 782 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Because of this fault, Dee can never understand why the quilts are important to her family; likewise, her family can never understand why Dee wants them as art. This directly influences her angry exit, and it makes her family somewhat pleased by her desertion. While both of their opinions are justified, these opposing beliefs are clearly not able to endure within this family…

    • 919 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    She honors the memory of her ancestors as she knows the stories behind the pieces of clothe in the quilt. Maggie 's mother values her daughter 's emotional connection to the quilt. Hence why she quickly transfers the quilt from Dee to Maggie 's arms. Maggie is stunned because she never gets the acknowledgment but now she finally has it. Her mother knows that Maggie understands the sentimental value of it and that she will use the quilt rather than display it as an artwork.…

    • 838 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    When Dee wanted to be white, the narrator “offered Dee (Wangero) a quilt when she went away to college rejected the items her mother tried to give to her before college” (Walker, 83). However, Dee did not want them because they were tacky and old-fashioned. At that time, Dee did not understand the true meaning and hard work of those quilts. Joe Sarnowski believes that “Dee/Wangero’s sense of heritage is expressed further as she recognizes several household items to be significant folk artifacts” (Sarnowski, 274). "Can I have these old quilts," Dee asked (Walker, 83).…

    • 837 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Wangero is the sister that gets what she wants from her mother. My older sister, because she was born first, gets the things she wants. Maggie and Wangero do not get along because Maggie feels as though her mother has never told Wangero “no”. I feel as though my sister gets what she wants because it is hard for my mother to say “no” to my sister because she is so close with her. Wangero really does not care about her sisters feelings because not once does she ask Maggie if she can have the quilts or if it will hurt her feelings if she gets them.…

    • 618 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The short story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker analyzes the complex relationships found between and among family members, more specifically between two sisters and their mother. The two sisters, Maggie and Dee, come from an African American heritage. The mother of the two sisters is seeing how each of her daughters will preserve their heritage by their actions. Not only through their actions will the mother see but also by their personalities and ideas concerning their heritage. The mother used to think that Dee hated Maggie until Dee was sent to Augusta Georgia, the second largest city in the state home of Augusta State University, and also of Paine College.…

    • 816 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    “Not ‘Dee’, Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo!”(para.25) “What happened to ‘Dee’?” I wanted to know. (para.26) “She’s dead,” Wangero said. “I couldn’t bear it no longer, being named after the people who oppress me.”(para.27) Dee shows she is absent of a loving, nurturing relationship with her mom or sister because of her education she has alienated herself from them. In Dee’s struggles with her relationship with her mother she is making fun of everything. I am reminded in those homemade quilts her sister is to gain; Dee sets out to possess them for herself, she believes she won’t be refused for she always gets her way.…

    • 1197 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    She wants to put the churn as a centerpiece for a table and use the dasher for something artistic. After dinner, Dee also tries to take a quilt that her Grandmother stitched by hand. When Dee is told that she cannot have them because they were promised to Maggie, Dee shouts, “‘Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts!’ she said. ‘She’ll probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use’” (848). When asked what she would do with them Dee responded, “‘Hang them’ … As if that was the only thing you could do with quilts” (848).…

    • 1380 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays

Related Topics