Essay About Everyday Use

Essay About Everyday Use-62
It uses gentle humor in showing Dee/Wangero’s excess of zeal in trying to claim her heritage, and her overlooking of the truth of African American experience in favor of what she has read about it.

It uses gentle humor in showing Dee/Wangero’s excess of zeal in trying to claim her heritage, and her overlooking of the truth of African American experience in favor of what she has read about it.Dee has joined the movement called Cultural Nationalism, whose major spokesman was Le Roi Jones (Amiri Baraka).This short story is very widely studied due to its subject matter and the issues it highlights.

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Dee, who was always scornful of her family’s way of life, has gone to college and now seems almost as distant as a film star; her mother imagines being reunited with her on a television show such as “This Is Your Life,” where the celebrity guest is confronted with her humble origins.

Maggie, who is not bright and who bears severe burn scars from a house fire many years before, is even more intimidated by her glamorous sibling.

The short story is a first person narrative and the person telling the story is called “Mama” who has two daughters and is living in the Deep South.

Mama lives with one of her daughters called Maggie who is the younger one.

Dee’s acceptance or rejection of her native culture has been highlighted using numerous objects such as quilts and butter churn.

At some points she seems to understand the value of her culture but at other points, she completely rejects her identity.In fact, however, Dee’s understanding of the movement’s basics is flawed, and she is using bits of African lore rather than a coherent understanding of it. The contrast is clear—the snuff-dipping, hardworking mother who tells the story has passed her true inheritance, not quilts but love, to the daughter who is not book-educated but who belongs to the tradition.The speaker in this story is the mother of two very different girls, Maggie and Dee.Dee is horrified: “Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts!” she says, “She’d probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use.” Although Maggie is intimidated enough to surrender the beloved quilts to Dee, the mother feels a sudden surge of rebellion.Then her attention is captured by two old handmade quilts, pieced by Grandma Dee and quilted by the mother and her own sister, known as Big Dee.These quilts have already been promised to Maggie, however, to take with her into her new marriage.Dee feels entitled to them, but the speaker chooses to give them to Maggie—not to show but, as Dee says scornfully, “for everyday use.” Dee sweeps off with her other trophies, and the mother and Maggie remain together, enjoying a heritage that is experience and memory, not things to put on display.“Everyday Use” is narrated by a woman who describes herself as “a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands.” She has enjoyed a rugged farming life in the country and now lives in a small, tin-roofed house surrounded by a clay yard in the middle of a cow pasture.Whereas Dee had been scornful of her mother’s house and possessions when she was younger (even seeming happy when the old house burned down), now she is delighted by the old way of life.She takes photographs of the house, including a cow that wanders by, and asks her mother if she may have the old butter churn whittled by her uncle; she plans to use it as a centerpiece for her table.

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