Everyday Use - Part 2
Marco Luna Professor Gray English 028 Due: March 10, 2013 Essay #2: The Central Theme of Everyday Use There is a very interesting theme held within the pages of the story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker - Everyday Use introduction. Although the story is primarily a short story, its sub-genre is realistic fiction because the situation in the story can actually happen in real life. The story revolves around the two sisters and a mother who is faced with the conflict of different views of treasuring heritage between the two sisters.
They quarrel and fight over the quilts passed down through their family, be. The story theme revolves around heritage and embracing where the person comes from. The indirect characterization shows the viewer how the characters reflect the theme of the story. The heritage serves as the main battleground of the story’s plot focus. This proves true to Dee, one of the sisters, when she changes her name to a more African name because of her negative view on the heritage of her people being enslaved. “She’s dead, Wangero said. I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me. ” (Page 112). This proves that she has a negative understanding of Dee’s heritage and insults Mama through this action. “You know as well as me you were named after your aunt Dicie,” I said” (Page 112). Also, Dee’s understanding of her heritage was literally as good as a corpse. She only wanted the quilts so she can put them on display as if they are nothing more than priceless antiques. “But they’re priceless! ” she was saying now, furiously; fore she has a temper. ” (Page 114).
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This also shows the view how little she actually cares about her true family heritage. Even though Dee (Wangero) went to such great lengths to discover and learn about her African heritage, she was still lacking the “understanding” of it. Maggie’s view on her heritage is actually very opposite to Dee’s views on. Unlike Dee who has had an excellent education, Maggie wasn’t very well educated yet she feels and “understands” the true meaning of the quilts of her family. “Maggie would put them on the bed and in five years they’d be in rags! Less than that! ” (Page 112).
Dee was putting such a fuss about Maggie using the quilts instead of preserving the more hanging them, in fear they will be damaged, but that is the point. By Maggie using the quilts for what they are intended to be used, she is honoring and understanding her heritage. The comment that Dee made about Maggie and Mama was a complete Irony in it of itself. “What don’t we understand? ” I wanted to know. “You’re heritage” she said” (Page 115). The reader can see that this is a sad little taunt that Dee puts up for losing the quilts to her sister, whom she feels knows nothing about her heritage.
In that little squabble, the view can see the characterization of Dee, who has always had things go great for her, and expects to get everything she wishes. The mother of Dee and Maggie serve as the fulcrum of his conflict of understanding heritage. Mama kind of is forced to be the judge stuck in the middle in a sense because the reward is quilts and she has to choose one of them to give too. Even though this does not show in the story, Mama is the one who discreetly relays the narrator’s indirect characterization, revealing to the reader how Dee and Maggie truly are. The truth is,” I said, “I promised to give them to Maggie, for when she marries John Thomas” (Page 114). Mama had conceded to how much Maggie understands her heritage and for that reason, she gave her the quilts. “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, provides the reader with a theme about heritage and understanding. The story show that even though one can learn about their heritage; doesn’t mean that one can “understand” it. The author’s use of indirect characterization through the use of Mama’s presence reveals more the viewer and opens their eyes