September 17, 2008
“Everyday Use,” written by Alice Walker, is a short story that analyzes two very diverse characters. Maggie and her mother live out their heritage continuously in their everyday lives sewing quilts and churning butter, while Dee lives in an urban community and thinks of her heritage as a display for the world to see. The two sisters, Dee and Maggie, were both raised by their mother in the same atmosphere, yet they have differing beliefs on ideas such as style, family, and heritage.
In the story, the author describes Dee to be very materialistic, physically flawless, and ashamed of her true roots. Dee enjoys nice, stylish things, being the center of attention, and always having everything go her way. She carries herself with an arrogant air believing she is better than everyone else.
“Dee wanted nice things. A yellow organdy dress to wear to her graduation from high school; black pumps to match a green suit she’d made from an old suit somebody gave me… At sixteen she had a style of her own: and knew what style was” (357).
When Dee went off to college, her mother offered her a family quilt to take along, but Dee rejected the quilts because at the time, the quilts were not stylish. The younger sister, Maggie, is the complete opposite of Dee. “Dee is lighter than Maggie, with nicer hair and a fuller figure” (356). Maggie is hesitant, feeble, and ashamed of the burns all
over her arms and legs from the house fire. She is nowhere near as aesthetically pleasing as Dee, but she has a beautiful soul. Unlike her educated, intelligent sister, Maggie is not that bright and lacks a formal education.
Although Maggie and Dee have the same family, Maggie is much closer to their relatives, including their mother, than Dee. Dee did not like associating herself with anything relating to her home or her family’s beliefs and customs. Clearly, Dee’s family’s way of life was not fit for...