Everyday Use

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Antoinette Spears
March 4th, 2013
ENC 1102
MWF – 11:15
Attachments to a False Reality

In the story Everyday Use by Amy Walker, Dee is a frequent trendsetter who believes she knows it all, but fails to know her own self. When Dee visits from college to visit her family, she surprises them in a bright African-themed dress, golden bangles and earrings, and a large new hair. However, this new look is only for physical display, intended to show others that she is in touch with her heritage – something, that for many, does not have to be physically seen to be justified. This new look only displays what she considers her true heritage, which is really empty and false. To make matters worse, Dee also comes home with a new name: Wangero. When her mother asks what happened to her “Dee”, she replies “She’s dead. I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me”. However, Dee’s name is a true attachment to her real heritage, as it has been passed down for four generations. Her new name is only created as façade, to transform the old her (who is really still the same) and help embrace a false and temporary identity. When Dee is denied the family quilts she intends to showcase, she says “Maggie couldn’t appreciate these quilts! She’d probably be backwards enough to put them to everyday use!”, but when Dee was granted the quilts as a going away gift for college, she referred to them as “old fashioned” and “out of style”. However, now in tune with the Black Power Movement, Dee sees the quilts as another way to fit in with a trend. Little does she know that the purpose of a quilt is to put it to everyday use and pass down family history. Though Maggie may be “backwards”, she knows how to quilt, unlike Dee. So even if Maggie may subject the quilts to the wear and tear of everyday use, she can replace them and contribute a scrap of family history to the next generation. Granting that Dee may believe that she is more in touch with her family’s...
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