What is the significance of the quilts in "Everyday Use"?

Expert Answers
kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The quilts in "Everyday Use" are important because they were made by members of the Johnson family and have been pieced together with work shirts, Civil War uniforms and scraps of cloth.  They are representative of the Johnson family history and mean a great deal to "Mama" and Maggie.  They still use them and "Mama" is passing her love of quilt-making on to Maggie. 

They are at the heart of the story because Dee, the oldest daughter, wants to take the quilts to hang on a wall, like a museum piece.  Because "Mama" has promised that Maggie, her younger daughter, will get the quilts, "Mama" snatches the quilts out of Dee's hands to prevent Dee from taking the quilts when she leaves the house.  eNotes states that:

Maggie and her mother value the same objects not for their artistic value, but because they remind them of their loved ones.


linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A homemade, handmade quilt is like a scrapbook. As she looks at her quilts, Mama remembers that a certain patch came from her grandfather's paisley shirts, that some pieces came from dresses that Grandma Dee wore 50 years earlier, and even that there was a very small piece of her great-grandfather's Civil War uniform. To Dee, the quilts are a quaint "primitive" artform. To Mama and Maggie, they represent more than that. They are family memories, very personal and very special mementos of loved ones who are gone.

viola0212 | Student

quilts are the things that we use everyday. In this story, Dee thinks that they have to hang the quilt on the wall. However, culture is made by people in daily life, not just put the heritage  like a painting. What Dee have done have lost the significance of the heritage.