Symbolism In Alice Walker's Everyday Use

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“Everyday Use” is a wonderful story that has a very clear, understandable theme throughout the whole story. It is an example of finding the balance between accepting your heritage and really understanding your roots. The main theme is embracing and understanding your heritage. This is seen in the way Dee feels about her family, the way she speaks to her family, and also it is shown through several symbols: the house, a quilt and a butter churn. Dee is not proud of her family. In fact, she is quite embarrassed of them. She said in her letter that “she would manage come [and visit]… But she [would] never bring her friends” (par. 14). Dee was born into a Negro family. It easy to spot the hostility that Dee has for her heritage and for her family. The narrator, Mama, mentions that Dee is “lighter” (10) than other members of her family. This means that she did not fit into her African American culture nor is she welcomed into white…show more content…
They are kept in a trunk at the end of Mama’s bed. Dee shuffles through the trunks, finds the quilts and asks Mama for them. Although Dee asks oh so sweetly, Mama takes a moment to ponder the question. Mama knows that she had offered a quilt to Dee before she went off to college but Dee had refused it because she thought was old-fashion. She still does not want to use them. She wants them to hang them on her wall as a prize that she has won. She wants them to be her trophy, something that she has been granted. The quilts were not made to be used like that. They were sewn by Grandma Dee, the woman that Dee was named after, with pieces of clothing from different eras of the family’s history (55). When Mama tells Dee she cannot have the quilts, Dee throws a fit. Dee desperately must have the quilts but she does not understand the true meaning of the quilts. They are living proof of her family’s heritage and Dee did not realize the meaning behind

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