Everyday Use Essay

Everyday Use Essay

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Everyday Use Everyday Use by Alice Walker has an underlying theme of heritage and tradition. This is a black family living in the early 1970 s, and for them tradition and heritage is everything in the world. The oldest daughter, Dee, who has renamed herself Wangero, tells her mother and her sister, Maggie, You just don t understand your heritage. Wangero is upset because she wants the quilts that were made by her grandmother. In my opinion, Wangero has no idea herself what heritage means. She has gone off to college and changed all of her beliefs and ideas that she grew up with. She has become Muslim and thinks that everything Muslims do it the right way to do things. She no longer hs her won mind and her own way of thinking. When Ms. Johnson asks Wangero what she plans to do with the quilt Wangero tells her, Hang them, implying that hanging quilts for display is the only good that becomes a quilt. Ms. Johnson refuses to give the quilts to Wangero. She tells Wangero that the quilts have been promised to Maggie. Against her desire, Ms. Johnson does not bring up how she offered Wangero a quilt when she went away to college, but Wangero refused, saying that the quilt was old-fashioned. When Ms. Johnson tells Wangero that the quilts have been promised to Maggie, Wangero says, Maggie can t appreciate these quilts, she d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use. By this statement, Wangero shows the readers that she isn t really concerned with her heritage, she just wants the quilts to show off to everyone she knows. Although Maggie may put the quilts to everyday use, she truly knows of all the hard work and memories that were put into those quilts. Wangero pretends that she truly cares about the quilts and the heritage behind them by bringing up, Maggie would put them on the bed and in five years they d be in rags, less than that. Ms. Johnson shoots back at her with, She can always make some more, Maggie knows how to quilt. Ms. Johnson is implying that even if Wangero is good at everything, there is one thing that Maggie can do that Wangero can t, and it truly is a part of heritage and tradition: Maggie can quilt. Ms. Johnson takes a few seconds to think through the whole thing and then dragged her (Maggie) into the room, snatched the quilts out of Miss Wangero s hands and dumped them into Maggie s lap. Ms. Johnson showed that this time Maggie deserved something good, and she was going to get it. For Wangero, heritage is nothing more than something that is put on display. Ms. Johnson and Maggie have learned that heritage truly is how they live their lives each and every day. It is all the things that they have come to repeat and do in part of their everyday lives. To Ms. Johnson and Maggie heritage is the things in life that are put to everyday use.

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