In "Everyday Use," why does Dee want the quilts?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "Everyday Use," Dee wants the quilts because she wants to preserve them as artifacts of her family's heritage.  The quilts were made by women in the family, and the cloth came from scraps of clothing that had been worn by past family members such as Great Grandpa Ezra's uniform from the Civil War.  Mama intends to give the quilts to Maggie, who will put them to use when she gets married and moves out of the house.  But Dee says that Maggie will use the quilts until they turn into rags, and she does not want the quilts to be destroyed.  Dee wants to put the quilts on the wall as artwork for her and others to admire.  Mama does say that when Dee went away to school that she offered her one of the quilts, which Dee turned down.  However, after Dee goes to school, she changes her perspective and now sees the quilts as cultural artifacts.