Literary Analysis: "Everyday Use" Essay

703 Words 3 Pages
n “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, we hear a story from the viewpoint of Mama, an African American woman about a visit from her daughter Dee. Mama along with her other daughter Maggie still live poor in the Deep South while Dee has moved onto a more successful life. Mama and Maggie embrace their roots and heritage whereas Dee wants to get as far away as possible. During her return, Dee draws her attention to a quilt. It is this quilt and the title of the piece that centers on the concept of what it means to integrate one’s culture into their everyday life. To begin with a quilt is defined as a “coverlet made of scrapes and fragments stitched together to forming a pattern” (Webster). The quilt in “Everyday Use” was made by Grandma Dee, Big …show more content…
Mama is a strong, traditional African American woman, whereas Dee finds herself aboard the Civil Rights Movement. In an article entitled Personal Names and Heritage: Alice Walker's 'Everyday Use’, the author uses Clara and Inger Juncker comment from their book Black Roses in describing Dee’s African American stance:
Dee has joined the movement of the Cultural Nationalism, whose major spokesman was the black writer LeRoi Jones (Imamu Baraka.) The Cultural Nationalists emphasized the development of black art and culture to further black liberation, but were not militantly political, like, for example, the Black Panthers. The ideas of the Cultural Nationalists often resulted in the vulgarization of black culture, exemplified in the wearing of robes, sandals, hairspray "natural" style, etc.
Walker exemplifies this entire concept in the character of Dee. She is described as always being fashionable and when she appears at the house, she is wearing a long dress of bright colors, adorned with bracelets, and a current fad in hairstyle. Even prior to her arrival, we learned that Dee has always been different. She has never wanted to stay at home and embrace her family’s hard work. Instead she was always determined to get as far away from her home roots as possible. Yet here we have Dee coming back to claim her heritage roots so she can admire them on a wall as art. Dee also does

Related Documents