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Everyday Use by Alice Walker
Transcript of Everyday Use by Alice Walker
An African American family; a mom and her two girls
living in the 1960's
Maggie, the youngest daughter, was scarred by a childhood memory of her neighbors house burning down.
Dee, the oldest daughter craves a wealthy lifestyle
Flashbacks to when Maggie was burned by her neighbors house.
The narrator/mother craves to have her daughter, Dee back.
Dee comes back with a man, and she has changed her name to Wangero.
Wangero has a sudden interest in family heirlooms and her family history.
Wangero asks for the quilts that are passed down from mother to daughter and the mother says she promised them to Maggie.
Wangero gets upset because she is rarely said no to, and says Maggie will never appreciate the quilts.
The mother felt bad, so she offered one of the other quilts to Wangero, but she replied saying she didn't understand her heritage.
Wangero leaves with the man that her mother calls hakin-a-barber because she cant say his name correctly, and Maggie gets the quilts.
1960's, during the Civil Rights Movement.
Farm in the south
Internal: The mother doesn't think she has a stereotypical American mother look. There is no father present, and her relationship with her kids is rocky. She is insecure about her masculine appearances and non-feminine mannerisms.
External: The mother and Wangero fight because Dee changed her name to Wangero and wants the quilts but the mother says she promised to give them to Maggie.
Point of View
main character, direct characterization, dynamic, masculine appearances, big boned, tough, quick witted, round.
direct characterization, dynamic, wants nice things, educated, nice hair, full figure, stylish, round
direct characterization, static, dim witted, timid, scared, quiet, small in stature, flat.
Title- symbol for the meaning of the quilt from the end of the short story. Wangero wants the quilt and when she is refused of the quilt she says her sister, Maggie would use the quilt until it turns into rags.
Television- A symbol for the American household in the 1960’s, specifically the stereotypical white household. The mother felt that her kids wanted her to be like the mother on the TV.
“She will marry John Thomas (who has mossy teeth in an earnest face), and then I’ll be free to sit here and I guess just sing church songs to myself” (p119, Walker). Maggie is arranged to marry John Thomas when she is older and is describing the odd look of his face.
“There are yellows and oranges enough to throw back the light of the sun. I feel my whole face warming from the heat of the waves it throws out”(120, Walker). Describing how bright and vibrant Wangero's dress is.
“And one teeny faded blue piece, about the size of a penny matchbox” (p123, Walker). talking about family heirlooms that the narrator has from Maggie and Wangeros’ grandparents.
“She gasped like a bee had stung her” (p124, Walker). The significance of this simile is the raw emotion of shock it conveys.
“Maggie’s brain is like an elephant’s” (p122, Walker). This quote is describing how Maggie has an amazing memory.
“She thinks her sister has held life always in the palm of one hand, that ‘no’ is a word the world never learned to say to her” (p117, Walker). This quote shows how Wangero has always gotten what she wants.
In the quote on page 117, where Maggie says Wangero had never been said no to, the tone of the relationship between the sisters, Maggie and Wangero, was shown. There is a sort of bitter tone between the two sisters, as Wangero is the spoiled one of the two, and that shows through out the entire story. At the end of the story, there is a shift in their relationship when the mom says no to Wangero about the quilts because she promised them to Maggie.
People should value their family rather than the materialistic things that represent their family.
situational. Wangero expects to get the quilts but her mother tells her no because she never gets told no.