Conflicting Values and Perspectives in Alice Walker’s Everyday Use

Category: Culture, Ethics
Last Updated: 02 Apr 2023
Pages: 3 Views: 28

Alice Walker‘s short story “Everyday Use” discusses many different perspectives and conflicts between a family of a mother and her two daughters The author has made it apparent that both the daughters, whose names are Dee and Maggie, have been raised and grown into two completely different women with different values and judgments Though their mother who believed in their African culture and heritage with high value. She has failed to pass that belief on to one of her daughters, Deer Walker demonstrates the conflict between the mother and daughter with many different symbolic examples such as Dee’s action in changing her name as well as with their different personal uses of the traditional quiltsi As an educated woman, Dee has grown apart from her family as well as her own culture.

She becomes a social construct after her mother struggled to send her to schoolr Her mother has many expectations and hopes of sharing herAfrican heritage to the world through sending her daughter to school. Dee, on the other hand, has developed her own expectations and hopes through her own personal experience in schools She comes back as an educated woman with different beliefs which bring conflict to the family by her becoming someone her mother never intended her to be, She even changes her name from Dee to Wangeroi She does not understand the legacy of her name.

The name Dee has significant meaning to her family because it was passed along through generations The educational gap between mother and daughter as well as sibling is something the family can never come to agree with Maggie never got the opportunity to pursue an education due to the poverty the family had undergone In Maggie’s case, her only knowledge would be from her family through culture and heritage which resulted in Dee’s superior outlook towards herr The different uses of the quilts that were passed down from generation to generation in their family symbolize how different the culture is between Dee and her family. Throughout the story, the quilt helps show the differences in the characters personalities.

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The quilts made by Mama, Grandma Dee and Big Dee are a symbol, which shows their strong African-American heritage and background, The use of these different types of patterns in the quilts represents the history of Mama's family and the high culture value, Mama, Dee and Maggie understand and appreciate the value of the quilts in different ways Throughout the story, Maggie is very quiet and timid, Otherwise, her lack of education does not prevent her understanding of heritage based on her love That is the reason Mama wants to give Maggie the quilts.

Also, she tells Mama that Dee can have the quilts because she can remember Grandma Dee and her ancestor without the quilts Mama knows Maggie will use the quilts in every day in her life like they were being put to uses Not like Dee, she will hang it on the wall because it was made by her grandma, Dee uses the quilts like an antique She does not understand the significance of the quilts, which contain the heritage and the history of her family “Everyday Use” is a meaningful story about morals, and respect generation passed. The conflict within heritage can occur due to generation gaps and changes over time The quilt is passed down the family’s history, and culture is passed down.

The quilt symbolizes culture change with Dee and her family. Throughout the story, acting on their heritage shows the different personalities and views between the main characters. With Dee, the quilt is just a unique culture to hang in on the wallr On the other hand, Mama and Maggie see the quilt as a symbol of the African American heritage and the important thing to remember their generation passed. Dee wants to live a modern life, and she didn't want to be a part of her past. On the contrary, Maggie has grown up respecting her culture all her life.

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Conflicting Values and Perspectives in Alice Walker’s Everyday Use. (2022, Nov 24). Retrieved from

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