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What passage in Walker's "Everyday Use" explains the meaning of the title?

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dan15 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 2, 2010 at 10:29 AM via web

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What passage in Walker's "Everyday Use" explains the meaning of the title?

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 3, 2010 at 2:29 AM (Answer #1)

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Just to continue from the above answer, Dee sees the quaint belongings of her old home as decorations.  This is superfluous in the context of the story.  The family uses these things for everyday use.  The items are not antiques to the people who live in the home and use them daily.  In a larger context, Dee is representative of the "new" black woman, what people think black women should be or become.  The mother and Maggie are what they are, and Walker in the story suggests that they have their own form of dignity and it may well be superior to that of Dee.

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted February 2, 2010 at 8:48 PM (Answer #2)

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"Maggie can't appreciate these quilts!" she said. "She'd probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use."

In the story "Everyday Use" Deehas come home with her fellow Wangaro.  Dee is trying to capture her image of African American heritage.  However, she misses the point.  She only sees the objects such as the bench that her papa had made, ad the butter churn handle, and the quilts as representations.

Dee is unable to recognize the deeper history.  For Dee, her heritage is more of a materialistic venture.  For example, when Deetells Wangaro about the handmade quilt she only tells part of the story of the quilt.  Her mother corrects her telling her that the scraps of clothing in the quilt were also from clothing her mother had that had been old and worn.

Maggie is the daughter that Dee feels will not appreciate the quilt.  She thinks it will get used up by everyday use.  However, this type of use is what the quilt was intended to provide.  It is also a symbol of Maggie's mother's love.  Dee's and Maggie's mother gives the quilt to Maggie.

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