What is the theme of "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker?

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In Everyday Use, there is a conflict between how Dee views the world and objects around her (and her relationship to them), and how Mama and Maggie view the material world. Dee represents a human desire to assign cultural and artistic meaning to practical objects, particularly to items hand made by a loved one. She wishes to transform everyday objects that are used by her family, such as the butter churner and the quilts, into artistic representations of her family's life. Dee appreciates objects for their visual and cultural significance, rather than their use.

Conversely, Mama and Maggie appreciate objects for their practical application. The quilts are intended to be used to keep one warm, and while Dee covets the quilts made by her mother for their visual beauty and connection to her family, Mama appreciates the quilts for their use. Mama gives the quilts to Maggie because she knows that Maggie will use the quilts as they were intended. The theme of this short story can be understood...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 660 words.)

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