Why is it important for Mama to be the narrator in "Everyday Use"?.

1 Answer | Add Yours

lsumner's profile pic

lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

In "Everyday Use," it is important that Mama is the narrator:

Mrs. Johnson is the narrator of this story, overseeing its events and interpreting, more through her actions than her words, their significance. 

She knows both her daughters very well. She loves both her daughters very well. She tells the truth. She doesn't seem to favor one daughter more than the other, but she does give Maggie the quilts. Mama is fair in this. She knows that Maggie will use the quilts and appreciate the reason the quilts were made. As the title expresses, the quilts were made for everyday use. The quilts were not made to become an attractive heirloom for Dee's walls. 

Mama wants the quilts to be used. She knows Maggie has the best intentions for the quilts. Mama knows that Maggie has fond memories of her Grandmother Dee who made the quilts:

Maggie is attached to the quilts because they make her think of Grandma Dee. Thus, although the woman is dead, she represents the cherished family presence that lives on in Maggie's and her mother's connection to the past.

Mama is a fair narrator. She does not show favortism. She realizes that Dee does not appreciate the fact that she has her grandmother Dee's namesake. Dee has changed her name. She is so consumed with her African heritage until she has forgotten what her grandmother Dee represents.

Mama is a fair narrator. She just reports the facts. She realizes Dee is caught up in some African heritage that is really so distant until it does not truly belong to Dee. She allows Dee to have the butter churn top. She wants Dee to have something. 

Mama does seem to sympathize with Maggie as far as the quilts are concerned, but she does this because Dee has already been given an education. Mama seems to question whether that education has made Dee think she is superior to Maggie. As narrator, Mama would never allow Dee to show herself more superior to Maggie. Dee received the education. Maggie deserves the quilts. 

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,996 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question