Could you give me a short summary (5-6 sentences) of Alice Walker's" Everyday use"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The title of Alice Walker's short story, "Everyday Use ," suggests the tension that develops over quilts that have been in the family of Maggie, Dee, and her mother.  For, in the narrative there is a family reunion that produces a conflict between two definitions of family heirlooms, quilts made of patches that contain their heritage going back to...

View
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

The title of Alice Walker's short story, "Everyday Use," suggests the tension that develops over quilts that have been in the family of Maggie, Dee, and her mother.  For, in the narrative there is a family reunion that produces a conflict between two definitions of family heirlooms, quilts made of patches that contain their heritage going back to the Civil War. While Dee, who has changed her name to ''Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo," desires to take the quilts sewn by her great-grandmother and grandmother in order to display them, the mother has promised them to Maggie as a wedding present. Dee argues with "Mama" that she should have them rather than Maggie:

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

The mother tells Dee that she hopes Maggie will, indeed, use them, omitting that she had offered these quilts to Dee while she was at college, but Dee refused, calling them old-fashioned.  Clearly, the mother questions the honesty of the new Black Nationalistic posture of Wangero; she would rather have the quilts used in the traditional manner by Maggie rather than being put on display.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team