Alice Walker ‘s short narrative “ Everyday Use ” tells a narrative of a female parent and her two girls who have different thoughts about their heritage. The female parent, Mama Johnson, narrates the narrative and Tells about the twenty-four hours her girl Dee came back to see one twenty-four hours from college and how Dee wants to take some points back with her. Dee has different positions than Mama Johnson and Maggie do about their household heritage. Walker, writer of “ Everyday Use ” describes a immature grownup girl named Dee who does n’t recognize the importance of her heritage, but after go toing college comes back to see Mama Johnson and Maggie, and all of a sudden superficially realizes where she came from. Dee used to seek to educate Maggie and Mama Johnson by reading to them whether they wanted Dee to read to them or non. This is one manner she was seeking to alter Mama Johnson and Maggie to be more like the manner she thinks and negotiations. Dee ‘s younger delicate sister Maggie, scarred by a house fire, and Mama Johnson, a individual female parent who works like a adult male, live together in the rural South on a grazing land where cattles roam free. Mama Johnson makes a populating from selling cowss. Mama Johnson reverie of the manner she believes Dee would desire her to be and how she would desire Dee to be when it comes to their beliefs in heritage ( Walker 109 ) . Mama Johnson makes the most of import statement of the narrative without utilizing words but actions when she takes the heirloom comforter from Dee and hands it to Maggie. Both girls are from the same household but yet they have their ain beliefs about their heritage. Maggie the 1 that is delicate and uneducated proves to hold the right construct of their heritage which is proven through a symbolism of a comforter. Walker uses mundane points to typify the narrative ‘s focal point on the value of apparent objects and what they mean to Mama Johnson and her two different girls: Dee, the educated one who wants no portion of what her life used to be and Maggie, fragile and uneducated but knows the true construct of their household heritage. Mama Johnson realizes which girl deserves the comforter.
Dee Johnson believes that she is corroborating her African American heritage by altering the name she was given and by altering the manner she dresses to corroborate her African American heritage: and she wants the comforter for the same ground. Dee is described as “ shallow ” , “ condescending ” and “ manipulative and lacks an apprehension of her heritage ( Farrell 179 ) . Dee did n’t hold really many friends and the friends she did hold were sneak male childs in pink and nervous misss that worshiped how she looked and spoke ( Walker 110 ) . Dee can speak to anyone in the oculus without vacillation unlike Mama Johnson and her younger sister Maggie. Mama Johnson was able to direct Dee to college in Augusta with aid from the Church ( Walker 110 ) . When Dee came back to see Mama Johnson and Maggie she was a different individual. She wore a loud African frock down to the land and greets Mama Johnson in Arabic ( Walker 109 ) . The frock she wore represented her new individuality. Dee wanted to demo Mama Johnson and Maggie her new and revised individuality. Dee brought a Polaroid Camera with her to take images of Mama Johnson and Maggie. Dee takes several exposures of them and made certain the house was included in the images. Maggie was huddling behind Mama Johnson while Dee took the images. Dee even takes a image of a cow that had wandered to the house. Mama Johnson was surprised that Dee was even taking images of them and the house. Mama Johnson figured that Dee would desire to fire the house down like the first house did because Dee hated it as much. After Mama Johnson calls Dee by her name, Dee informs Mama Johnson that she has changed her name to “ Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo ” an African name because she could n’t bear any longer being named after the people who oppress her ( Walker 111 ) . Dee told Mama Johnson “ Dee was dead ” ( Walker 111 ) . Dee negotiations about the handmade benches, the churn top Uncle Buddy whittled out of a tree, and the elan her other Uncle Henry made that are in Mama Johnson ‘s kitchen. Most significantly she asks for the heirloom comforters that were made from garbages of frocks Grandma Dee had worn over 50 old ages ago and spots and pieces of Grandpa Jarrell ‘s Paisley shirts. There was one little piece that was from Great Grandpa Ezra ‘s uniform that he wore in the Civil War ( Walker 113 ) . While all these points were at that place when she lived at place it ‘s now that she realizes the value these points have and Mama Johnson had even offered Dee to take one of the comforters when she left for college but Dee did non desire the comforter at that clip because Dee thought the comforters were out of manner ( Walker 113 ) . Mama Johnson promised the comforters to Maggie as a nuptials gift. Dee insisted on taking the points back with her when she left. Dee is rejecting her household heritage and individuality by altering her name but yet still wants the objects that represent her heritage but for the incorrect grounds. Dee seems to seek to acquire rid of everything that represents her household values including her name. Dee is non similar Maggie.
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Maggie is described by Mama Johnson as being a slightly scared animate being that accepts losing and dorsums down on any state of affairs she sees a menace ( Gruesser 184 ) . Maggie is wholly the antonym of her older sister Dee. “ Maggie will be nervous until after her sister goes: she will stand hopelessly in corners, ture O enviousness and awe ” ( Walker 109 ) . Walker writes how Maggie will move until Dee leaves back t college. Maggie is besides described by Mama Johnson as a square carnal nescient adequate to be sort to everyone even if they do her incorrect ( Gruesser 184 ) . The house fire left Maggie scarred for life. Maggie ‘s cicatrixs run deeper than merely physical lesions ( Walker 109 ) . Maggie was possibly burned seeking to salvage the really quilts Dee covets ” ( Gruesser 184 ) . The house fire had no affect on Dee. Unlike Dee, Maggie has a limited usage of linguistic communication ( Tuten 127 ) . When Maggie heard Dee ask for the heirloom comforters she was disquieted because she knew Mama Johnson would ne’er state Dee “ no ” ( Tuten 126 ) . Maggie told Mama Johnson to allow Dee hold the comforters and she would retrieve Grandmother Dee without them. Maggie was demoing that she did non necessitate an object or point to retrieve where she came from.
Mama Johnson realized at that minute that Dee did non merit the heirloom comforter. “ Mama Johnson does two things that she has ne’er, surprisingly plenty, done before: she hugs Maggie and she says “ no ” to Dee. ” ( Gruesser 185 ) . By Mama Johnson taking to give the comforter that represents their heritage to Maggie, it gave Mama Johnson and Maggie a voice they ne’er thought they had. Dee wanted the comforters for the incorrect ground because it was now stylish. She did n’t desire the comforters because it represented her heritage. “ She wants the exposure -and soon the churn palpebra, the dasher and the quilts-for intents of show, reminders that she no longer has to populate in such a house, attention for such a cow, have day-to-day intercourse with such a female parent and sister ” ( Cowart 175 ) . Dee merely wanted the heirloom objects to expose them in an artistic manner and non for mundane usage. Dee did non desire Maggie to hold them because Maggie would destroy them by utilizing them every twenty-four hours and Dee thought they needed to be preserved. Mama Johnson felt they should be used because she had them set away for so long that it was clip person put them to of all time twenty-four hours usage ( Walker 113 ) . Dee left disquieted and shouting how they merely did non understand their heritage when it was Dee herself that lost sight of the existent value of her heritage.
“ Surely the comforters over which Wangero and her female parent wrangle represent a heritage immensely more personal and immediate than the rational and deracinated girl can see ; so, they represent a heritage she has already discarded, for she no longer portions a name with those whose lives, in garbages of cast-off vesture, the comforters transmute ” ( Cowart 179 ) .
After Dee left Mama Johnson and Maggie sat on the porch basking a dip of snuff until it was clip to travel in the house and travel to bed ( Walker 114 ) . Although each character in the narrative is from the same heritage, some will hold different positions of it, and Mama Johnson realizes which one of her girls deserves the comforter that symbolizes their heritage. Maggie knows how to quilt and could do her ain, it was what the comforter and giving it to Maggie represented what mattered to Mama Johnson.