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Symbolism in "Everyday Use"

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Tania Gonzalez

on 1 October 2012

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Transcript of Symbolism in "Everyday Use"

Tania Gonzalez Symbolism in "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker People are often ignorant of their own heritage. Theme "Ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs..."
Literal meaning: Burn scars
Figurative meaning: Maggie will never forget how and when she received them, the memory will haunt her forever.
It explains why she is so quiet and dislikes attracting attention to herself
She stays inside, which gives her much time to learn from her mother about her family's past and traditions. Burn Scars on Maggie Aunt Dicie and Mama
"These old things was just done by me and Big Dee..."
Mama and her sister were very close, they even made quilts together.
Dee and Maggie
No words are exchanged between them
Dee and Maggie have a weak bond, no communication between them, they are opposites.
Mama and Dee
Mama must have poor bond with Dee, because Dee doesn't know much about her family's past. This makes her ignorant about her own heritage. Relationships in the story "'What happened to 'Dee'?' I wanted to know.
'She's dead,' Wangero said. 'I couldn't bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me.'"
Literal meaning: Dee changes her name from Dee to Wangero
Figurative meaning: Dee thought her name came from oppressors, when she was actually named after her aunt.
The fact that she learned where her name came from after she changed it shows that she doesn't know much about her past, much less the meaning behind her name. Dee Changing Her Name "Out came Wangero with two quilts. They had been pieced by Grandma Dee and then Big Dee and me had hung them on the quilt frames on the front porch and quilted them...In both of them were scraps of dresses Grandma Dee had worn fifty and more years ago."
"'Maggie can't appreciate these quilts!' she said. 'She'd probably...put them to everyday use!'"
Literal meaning: Quilts
Figurative meaning: values, heritage, tradition, family history, living history
Dee wants the quilts, but doesn't understand the history behind them
Dee wants to preserve them, but they were meant to be used, in order to create new memories.
Dee doesn't understand her own culture Quilts
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