The story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker is a story that shows how members of the same family can have extreme conflicting values. The story has three main characters, Dee, Maggie, and Mama. In the story, the term 'everyday use' is what illustrates the characters' different personalities. The term is very important because the story is centered on the things that the characters have and how they use them everyday.
The term means something different to each of the characters. Maggie and Mama live together and they are a lot alike in their values and the way that they appreciate the things that they have. Dee on the other hand is very different from both her mother and her sister. The story also shows how society can play a role in the characters' values. In the story "Everyday use" Mama, who is the mother of Dee and Maggie, is a very simple but hardworking woman. She is the provider for the family, she does all of the work outside and she slaughters the animals to eat.
She is very proud of the work that she does and this is illustrated in the beginning of the story when she is talking about their yard. She says, "A yard like this is more comfortable than most people know. It is not just a yard. It is like an extended living room." This shows the reader what type of person Mama is because she appreciates the things that she has, even if it is just a yard. The term everyday use is important to Mama because when she owns something, it gets put to use. A lot of the things that mama has are things that have been made by her family members.
Their Uncle Buddy whittled the churn top that they have and their Aunt Dee's first husband whittled the dasher. Mama and Aunt Dee made the quilts out of clothing that grandma Dee and other relatives wore. When Dee wants to take the quilts, Mama gets angry because she was going to give them to Maggie for when she gets married because she knows that Maggie will use them. She does not want Dee to have them because she is just going to use them as decorations. The reader can clearly see that the term everyday use is important to Mama because it highlights the values that she has for her possessions and her hard work. Maggie is a shy, self-conscious girl who does not talk very much at all and is afraid of her older sister Dee.
She is not very educated but she is good-natured and still tries her best when she does things like read to her mother. She knows that she is not that smart, but she is good at other things, such as making quilts. The term everyday use is important to Maggie because she is the same way as her mother when it comes to appreciating the things that you have and making use of them. Mama knows that Maggie will use the quilts when she gets married and that if the quilts get old and worn out, that Maggie can make new ones. Maggie has very genuine and selfless values.
When Dee asks Mama if she can take the quilts, the reader can see that Maggie gets upset because something falls in the kitchen and she slams the kitchen door. However, when she comes out to confront Dee, she tells her that she can have the quilts and that she can remember her Grandma Dee without the quilts. This shows the reader that Maggie does not live her life worrying about material things and that she is willing to give up something important to her. We also see another side of Maggie when Dee is leaving and Maggie smiles. This is the first time that Maggie has smiled in the story and it happens when her sister is leaving, which shows how Maggie's personality is different when her sister is there as opposed to when she is not. Dee is an example of how society can play a role in the values that a person has.
Dee is totally opposite from her mother and sister. She hated the old house that they lived in and Mama was sure that she was going to hate the new one. Instead of being simple and quiet like Mama and Maggie, Dee is outspoken and lives a more modern life. The term everyday use is important to Dee because it proves how different she is from the other characters. When she comes to visit, she wants to take the churn top, the dasher, and the quilts as decorations for her house. She thinks that because Maggie will use the quilts everyday that she does not appreciate them.
The irony in this story is that when Dee went away to school, Mama asked her if she wanted a quilt and she turned it down, saying that they were old-fashioned and out of style. Now she is throwing a fit because she wants them so badly. It seems as though Dee also likes to show off the modern things that she has and her knowledge. For example, when she was in school, she used to read to Maggie and Mama as if she were better than them, and when she came to visit, the first thing that she did was take out a Polaroid camera and take pictures of Maggie, Mama and the house. The term everyday use is so important to Dee's character because it shows that she has very selfish values and she cares more about taking things for herself than taking things that Maggie and Mama use everyday away from them.
The story everyday use is a story that depicts how people of the same family can have such different values and views on life. The term everyday use is very important to the story, not only because it is the title, but also because it gives the story a point. This point is that something simple, like how a person uses the heirlooms that are in their family, can show what values that person has.