Theme of Heritage in Everyday Use
- Length: 924 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
In the short story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, two sisters portray their contrasting family views on what they perceive to be heritage. The idea that a quilt is a part of a family's history is what the narrator is trying to point out. They aren't just parts of cloth put together to make a blanket. The quilt represents their ancestors' lives and tells a story with each individual stitch.
"They had been pieced my Grandma Dee and Big Dee and me and hung them on the quilt frames on the front porch and quilted them. One was in the Lone Star pattern. The other was Walk Around the Mountain. In both of them were scraps of dresses Grandma Dee had worn fifty and more years ago. Bits and pieces of Grandpa Jarrell's paisley shirts. And one teeny faded blue piece about the size of a penny matchbox that was from Great Grandpa Ezra's uniform that he wore in the Civil War. (Walker, 399)" Understanding the importance of why the author wrote this story is very important, valuing the culture and traditions of your family is extremely meaningful. In the story, Walker presents Maggie, who is the younger sister, as an example of heritage in terms of passing it on through generations and understanding it with knowledge and respect. Maggie unlike her older sister knew how to sew and appreciated personally and emotionally how much time and effort where put into the quilts.
"Dress down to the ground, in the hot weather. A dress so loud it hurts my eyes Earrings gold, two, and hanging down to her shoulders. Bracelets dangling and making noises when she moves her arm The dress is loose and flows, and as she walks closure, I like it. I hear Maggie go "Uhnnnh" (Walker, 397). Dee the narrator's older daughter was very different from her younger sister, Maggie. She was materialistic, complex, and modernized. She does not really understand the present life relations to the traditions of her ancestors. She sees the quilt valued for financial and aesthetic reasons.
Looking back on my childhood, I remember all the times that I would visit my Grandma Susie at her house. She always had a sewing task in the process and I would always ask her if I could help her. She would let me do little things like sew a square or roll up the yarn.
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Everyday Use Heritage Quilt Porch Jarrell Hanging Ancestors Maggie Presents Bits
Finally, when I was old enough she taught me how to sew. I practiced and practiced every time I came to her house. Each visit I would learn something new. One day I came in and she was working at the kitchen table, there were a billion little pieces of fabric scattered all over the table. I asked her what she was making that day and she told me a quilt. I had never seen her sew a quilt before I was amazed. She was making it for an auction to raise money. She had collected several different patterns of fabric, some from her old collection and some new collection. When she finished the masterpiece, which is exactly what I would describe it as, it looked incredible.
For weeks and weeks, I begged her to teach me how to make a quilt of my own. She finally gave in and decided to help me. She first had me choose a color that I primarily wanted to quilt to be, and then we went to the store and shopped for hours trying to choose the perfect patterns. She also let me pick some of her great grandmother's fabric that she had had for many years. When we finished that we sat down and she helped me stitch by stitch to make my quilt. It took several months to finish but when we finally completed the quilt, I was very proud of my accomplishment. It took hours and hours a tedious work and when I finished it left me with a sense of respect and appreciation.
Today when I look at the quilt, which I keep on my bed, I remember all the personal emotion and the creative legacy that my Grandma Susie left in that quilt. The day I finished that quilt it was on my bed, I have never gone a night without sleeping with that quilt. "The truth is, "I said, "I promised to give them quilts to Maggie, for when she marries John Thomas. "She gasped like a bee had stung her. "Maggie can't appreciate these quilts!" she said. "She'd probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use. (Walker, 399)" in relation to the story I feel as though a quilt should be used and appreciated the way the creator wanted it to be used. Hanging on a wall was not the reason why it was made.
In conclusion understanding the story inspires you to look deeper at simple blanket and find it is full meaning. That quilt told a story that had a greater meaning than just someone sewing fabric together did did. In the story, there were two sisters who looked at it from two separate views. Both cherished it in different ways. At the end of the story that younger sister, Maggie is given the quilts because she knew the true meaning of her own heritage. She represented it in her lifestyle and attitude. In the end, her mother rewarded this attitude by giving her daughter the prized quilts knowing that it meant much more than just a pretty blanket.
hi i was wondering if anyone could comment on my essay so I can make improvements (trying to get a high mark!!!)
the question is:
Analyze and discuss the importance and function of symbolism What is symbolic, and how does it function? What meanings surround this symbol, and do they change over the course of the story? Is a particular character associated with this symbol? How important to the story's meaning is this symbol?
In the short story, "Everyday Use", author Alice Walker uses everyday use items to portrait the symbolism in this story. These items have different meanings and reaction to the main characters, which contrast; simple and practical use, to stylish decorations. The main characters in this story are Mrs. Johnson, Maggie and Dee. Each has their opposing views on the value and worth of the various items in their lives, the author uses this conflict to make the point that the substance of an object, and of people, is more important than style.
Alice walker uses the quilts as the main Symbolism for this story and as mentioned above each character has a different opinion on what these quilts mean to them. Quilts as we know; can be used as either a type of sheet for your bed or could be used as a decoration. The quilt in this story represents their culture. These quilts were passed down through generations of the family, thus making them very unique, irreplaceable and priceless (75). Other symbols in the story are: the churn, the bench, and the dasher. All three of these items have gained imprints on them from overburden use of them. This plays a very important role for it shows us that these items have been altered, making them more convenient and practical. (73-74)
Towards the end of the story, the mother must make a choice as to whom to give the quilt which they will hold for generations. While both characters are deserving of the quilt, both have different ideas as to what to do with them. Dee knows that these items are priceless pieces of tradition and heritage. She wants them to hang for decoration (75) Dee also quotes "She'd probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use." (76). the fact that Dee only wants to hang them on a wall to be looked at defines the argument the author is trying to make. If Maggie takes the quilts she will defiantly use them and they might rip or become completely useless; while if Dee takes the quilts she will use them as decorations and they will no longer be improved and they also would become useless in the sense that they are not in any us. I believe that; author Alice Walker intended for Maggie to have the quilts as they would be in everyday use and would represent use of their heritage.
The symbols in this story play a significant roll, without the symbols there would be no conflict Dee would have really came to visit her mother to say hi. The symbols in this story are not too rich in detail but when you do see a symbol they always indicate some sign of overburdened usage (73-74-75) thus making them a part of everyday use . Overall the symbols represented heritage. Is it better to live your heritage or to simply take a token of it? Dee was acting like a tourist; she walked into her mother's house and took items that she would not use but instead make art out of them.
You don't need the commas around the title in that first paragraph.
These items have different meanings to the main characters, so that characters react to them in contrasting ways; simple and...
Each has their opposing views on the value and worth of the various items in their lives, and the author uses this conflict to make the point that the substance of an object, and of people, is more important than style.---Nice thesis statement!
Alice walker uses the quilts as the main Symbolism for this story and as mentioned above each character has a different opinion on what these quilts mean to them. Quilts as we know; can be used as either a type of sheet for your bed or could be used as a decoration. The quilt in this story represents their culture. These quilts were passed down through generations of the family, thus making them very unique, irreplaceable and priceless (75). Other symbols in the story are: the churn, the bench, and the dasher. All three of these items have gained imprints on them from overburden use of them. This plays a very important role for it shows us that these items have been altered, making them more convenient and practical. (73-74) (Right here, add a sentence that shows how the content of this paragraph supports your thesis statement. Know what I mean? Add a sentence that tells why this paragraph proves the thesis statement is true)
Again.. revise this so that it supports the thesis statement... or add another sentence to the end of the paragraph: ... believe that; author Alice Walker intended for Maggie to have the quilts as they would be in everyday use and would represent use of their heritage.