In “Everyday Use,” why does Dee want the churn top?

In “Everyday Use,” Dee wants the churn top because she plans to place it on her alcove table as a centerpiece and a talking point. She wants to display these items of her family’s history like items as a museum, not to put them to use.

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Dee wants the churn top because she has a vision of it becoming a decorative item in her home. She sees it becoming “a centrepiece for the alcove table.” Unlike her mother and sister, for whom everything has a practical purpose, Dee wishes to make the churn top into a display piece that shows off her heritage to all who visit her home. It is a telling indication of Dee’s character that she claims to “need” the churn top.

We are given a further indication of Dee’s purpose for wanting the churn top when she turns her attention to the dasher. The fact that she says she will “think of something artistic” to do with it tells us that these cultural relics will become pieces of art in her home, meant to alert her visitors to her connection to a lifestyle and culture which she has long eschewed.

To Dee, unlike her sister and mother, cultural relics should be seen and admired rather than put to “everyday use.” Later in the story, when she is looking at the quilts, Dee once again makes it clear that all the items she wishes to take from her mother and sister’s home are desired for their artistic value and not their practicality. The way Dee sees it, items such as the churn pot and quilts, which showcase her cultural heritage, are meant to be seen and admired, like items in a museum.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 18, 2021
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