Everyday Use Essay

Everyday Use Essay

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Everyday Use In “Everyday Use” the Mother and Maggie are presented as how heritage is passed on from one generation to another through learning and experience. Dee represents a misconception of heritage as material. During her visit, Dee misplaces the value of heritage in her desire for racial heritage. Mama and Maggie represent the connection between generation and heritage that passed between them. They live in a home that is old and out of touch compared to present day. The Mother is a big woman who takes care of the home and land, " I am a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands", and Maggie is the daughter who helps Mama in the yard and around the house. After the second grade the school was closed therefore neither Mother nor Maggie are educated. However by helping her mother she uses the hand made items in her life, experiences the life of her ancestors, and learns the history of both. The desire of the quilts by Dee goes against the belief of the quilts that Mother has. Maggie considers the quilts priceless because they are hand stitched and not done by machine. Dee plans to " hang them " or display the quilts where as Dee " may put them to everyday use ". Mama promised the quilts to Maggie as possibly a wedding gift " for when she marries John Thomas.” Dee believes heritage to be the quilt on the wall or the churn in the alcove. Dee knows the items are hand made but not the knowledge and history behind the items. Yet, Mama knows the tradition and history and Maggie does too. Dee criticizes Mama for not understanding heritage when, in fact, Dee fails to realize her heritage. She mistakenly places heritage in what she owns and not what she knows. Although her struggle to move beyond the limited world of her youth is positive, she has not yet arrived at a stage of self-understanding.

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