18 April 2012
Short Story Analysis
In the story “Everyday Use,” Alice Walker writes about three characters and their dispute over two quilts. Walker views the quilts as a timeless piece of art in her story. The argument is basically said in the title. Although the quilts are symbolizing art should they be viewed from a distance or be a part of everyday use.
The quilts are an inseparable piece of the women’s culture. There is history present in both of them. Walker writes in the story that the quilts contain various scrapes from Grandma Dee’s dresses that she had worn over fifty years ago. A piece of Great Grandpa Ezra’s uniform form the Civil War that was blue. As well as pieces from Grandpa Jarrell’s paisley shirts. The quilts are an heirloom that represents their family. The story is trying to represent art as a culture and an inseparable one at that. Dee only wants the quilts because of their financial value and is in an outrage when she learns her mother promised them to Maggie. Dee yells at her mother saying Maggie is “backward enough to put them to everyday use.” Truthfully Maggie does look at the quilts in this manner. The quilts only mean something to her sentimentally. Maggie is emotionally attached to the quilts it is not for a financial gain. Maggie has a personal connection with them. Walker says Maggie knows how to quilt, so she understands the process of making a quilt and preserving it. Quilting is a difficult activity.
Dee and Maggie value the quilts for two different reasons. This could be said about how others approach their values of art. One can value something only for financial reasons while another has a personal and emotional connection. Mama at one point grabs the quilts and throws them to Maggie. She does this symbolizing her value of art is not financial. She values them to be put to “Everyday Use.”
Walker is trying to make her point that art only keeps it value when it is connected to...