Life as a Whole

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Akia James
English 102
Dr. Abraham
Life as a Whole
“Everyday Use” symbolizes the importance of quilts and the value put upon them by a mother and her two children. “I try to teach my heart not to want things it can't have” once said Alice Walker. In many cases I relate this quote to the character Maggie in the short story “Everyday Use.” Maggie is shy and bashful because of her scars. She feels that her older sister Dee had had it made while they were coming up. Dee had gotten the chance to go to college while Maggie had stayed home with her mom. Maggie became more in touch and aware of her ancestral roots because she had stayed home with her mom. One important object often associated with “Everyday Use” is the quilts. Dee felt like she should have the quilt because to her she had deserved them more than Maggie did. She felt like she had understood the importance of the quilts and she would put them to proper use. Ironically enough, she said that Maggie did not understand the importance of the quilts and would have probably used them for everyday use until they turned into rags. I personally feel that Maggie fully understood that the quilts had a value worth so much more than everyday use. Aside from Dee and Maggie, there was the mother. The only understanding of heritage she had was the one she inherited. Maggie, Dee and their mother symbolized three different aspects of African American culture. This short story is stationed in the rural south during the 1960’s. During this time some people began to change their values and ways of life. In the short story, Dee Johnson was a beautiful young lady. She had gone to college to break away from her southern roots which she

despised. She had set out to be educated, built-up and modernized. Dee promised her mother that she would always visit, but never bring friends. That sentence alone displays her attitude towards her mother’s home and way of life. After Dee’s arrival to Mama Johnson’s house...
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