Eveyday Use

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In the short story, "Everyday Use," Alice Walker teaches us lessons on true inheritance; what it is and who can receive it. Two hand stitched quilts become the center of conflict in the story. They are also used to symbolize the true inheritance. Like a quilt, a person's world view is made up of events, circumstances and influences that shape how they see and respond to the world. "Everyday Use" is a story of two worlds in conflict. Mama, acting as the narrator, guides us through the interaction of the two very different worlds embodied in her daughters. Dee, the eldest daughter, has ventured from the rural world she grew up in but never felt a part of. The story is set in the context of her returning home for the first time since she left for college. Maggie the younger daughter has never left home. As the story unfolds Dee's motives become apparent. She has come home to retrieve objects from her former life that are meaningful to her. She plans to incorporate them into her décor. Mama relates her sad attempt to find value in her family and claim her inheritance. Maggie's quiet backward nature on examination is a portrait of a person who receives from life whatever is given but is ashamed of the scars she received in the fire that destroyed their first home. She hides her thin body in a pink skirt and red blouse. Since the fire, she shuffles as she walks, "chin on her chest, eyes on the ground. Dee had a style of her own; and knew what style was. Style is the key to Dee's life. Like the sunglasses she puts on before she leaves, style is the color of glass Dee sees life through. She is blessed with looks, nice hair and a full figure. Mama dreams of being appreciated by Dee. It is a simple dream. Mama wants to hear Dee acknowledge that she helped shape her into the successful confidant woman that she is. Mama knows Dee does not appreciate many things about her; her large bones and body, her dark skin and the way she works just like a man and enjoys it. Dee's...
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