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In the short story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, who values the quilts more, Dee or...

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jaybaybay | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 24, 2009 at 9:55 AM via web

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In the short story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, who values the quilts more, Dee or Maggie? Why?

 

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lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:46 AM (Answer #1)

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Maggie more than Dee would  value and permanently treasure the quilts because of the following reasons:

1. The quilts have always proved to be a source of comfort and encouragement to her who is described by the mother as "homely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs, [who is always] eying her sister with a mixture of envy and awe." and a little later as, "she has been like this, chin on chest, eyes on ground, feet in shuffle, ever since the fire that burned the other house to the ground." So a girl like Maggie who is timid and not successful in life like her sister will have great regard for the tradition and the culture of her past.

2. Maggie's roots are deeply and firmly planted in the cultural soil of her family's traditions, unlike Dee who was always ashamed of and hated her rural traditions and upbringing:"she had hated the house that much." Dee was more literate and would constantly read to them about life which the mother and Maggie were not interested in at all : "she washed us in a river of make believe, burned us with a lot of knowledge we didn't necessarily need to know." So, certainly Maggie more than Dee will set more value on the  family quilts.

2. Maggie, unlike Dee never "wanted nice things." The quilts would be old and faded and were certainly not "nice" to look at and Dee would not consider them valuable because they were not attractive to look at. Maggie on the other hand would consider them precious and worth preserving for life.

3. Most importantly Dee has changed her name into the African Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo, because her old name "Dee" reminded her of her white colonial masters. Outwardly her reason for changing her name might be politically correct but its certainly not culturally correct.  Her entire past is negated because of this name change. Dee's mother traces the family history of that name saying, "though, in fact, I probably could have carried it back beyond the Civil War through the branches." Maggie on the other hand would treasure the quilt not as a mere showpiece but as a treasure trove of the collected memories - both painful and pleasant - of the cultural past of her ancestors.

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xokittyxxbabyox | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 27, 2009 at 9:14 AM (Answer #2)

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what does dee intend to do with items she request?

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