Symbolism And Symbolism In Everyday Use By Alice Walker

1219 Words 5 Pages
Symbolism in the works of literature refers to the use of objects, people, animals, and situations that have other meaning than the literal one used in the story. It creates a certain emotion or mood in the story making the reader understand it better. Symbolism is widely applied in the story Everyday Use by Alice Walker. This paper will explore symbolism in the story Everyday Use which includes the house, quilt, yard and characteristics of some characters.
One of the prominent symbols in the story includes the quilts. These comprise the clothes that were worn by the narrator, her mother, Mrs. Johnson, and her sister, Maggie. They symbolize their African heritage since they were the same clothes worn by the past generations in their family
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They had to use the clothes of the relatives because they could not afford finances to buy new clothing. According to Goldman (73), African Americans used discarded goods to make their quits. They did not only use discarded materials in quilting but also in making other things. Historians indicate that some African Americans acquired second-hand instruments from the army bands after the civil war and some used old trombones and trumpets to makes simple things such as Jazz (Conyers 83). Quilting did not only bring narrator’s family together but also different generations. The narrator, her sister, and mother cooperated while creating quilts. It is also indicated that Maggie was taught to make quilts by Big Dee and Grandma Dee. Maggie’s knowledge of making quilts created a bond between her and her grandmother. This is evidenced in the story when she says that "I can't remember Grandma Dee without the Quits" (Walker 74). Although Dee seems not to understand the deeper meaning of the quits, she also seems to understand that they symbolize their heritage. This is evidenced in the story when she scolds her mother for not making a connection with her heritage represented by the …show more content…
Mrs. Johnsom says she talks with white men with one foot lifted in flight and her head turned away from them. This may symbolize her fear and dislike for white men. This is exactly how slaves behaved shyly in from of their masters or other white men. On the other hand, she indicates that Dee could look them directly without fear. She says “Dee, though. She would always look anyone in the eye. Hesitation was no part of her nature”(Walker 6). This places Dee as someone who is determined to fight against the norms of the white man. Her ability to eye contact white men shows her determination to resist and combat oppression by the white men. When Mrs. Johnson asked Dee about her new companion, she looked at her friend above her head. She says "Wangero sent eye signal over my head" (Walker 89). The lifted gaze shows how Dee placed herself above other members of her family. Her eye contact and high lifted gaze are a sign of power. After African Americans were granted voting rights, they were encouraged by their leaders to take pride in their African identity as a way of propagating self-esteem (Gale 7). This could be the reason behind Dee’s lifted her gaze and eye contact while speaking to

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