In "Everyday Use," what are Maggie and Dee's different attitudes toward heritage, and what do quilts symbolize in the story?
For Dee, heritage is something that is in the past; it is behind us and, therefore, must be preserved. So, she wants to take the churn top and dasher, items that her mother and sister actually do use everyday, so that she can do "artistic" things with them (like make centerpieces). Maggie, on the other hand, thinks of heritage as something that is living, present and current. She and Mama use the items that were made by family members, the benches crafted by Maggie and Dee's father, the dash that was whittled by Henry, called Stash, who was Aunt Dee's first husband, and so forth. On top of that, Maggie knows the stories of these people, who they actually were; Dee does not.
The quilts reinforce and symbolize this difference: Dee doesn't know how to quilt, but she wants to claim them as artifacts to hang on her wall. She thinks that Maggie is "backward" because Maggie would use the quilts and they'd eventually fall apart. However, Maggie knows how to make more quilts—she's actually
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