The title of Alice Walker's short story "Everyday Use" refers directly to the central conflict: which of Mama's daughters should have the family quilts.
Mama, the narrator of the story, has two daughters: Dee and Maggie. The story's conflict occurs as the result of Dee's return to her family home. Dee has gone off to college and has become interested in social issues and African history. She has even changed her name to Wangero, because she believes the name Dee is a remnant of the oppressive naming system imposed by slaveholders. Dee believes she is more sophisticated than her family, and when she comes to the house, she tells Mama that she wants to take the family quilts with her. Dee plans to display the quilts on her wall as art works.
Mama, however, does not want Dee to have the quilts. She believes Maggie is their rightful owner. Maggie has stayed with her mother; she is very shy and was badly burned in a house fire years in the past. Maggie has actually learned the art of quilting herself and can produce more of these prized possessions. Mama feels that Maggie has a greater connection to the family and its history than Dee, who left the family to further herself. Dee insults Maggie by saying that "she would probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use." This statement is the crux of the conflict of the story because it establishes the two differing opinions on what is the best way to honor a family's tradition. Mama sides with Maggie, so it is clear that she, as well, sees objects' value as a result of their literal use.