Professor Davinder Sangha
July 8, 2014
Heritage is valued objects and qualities such as cultural traditions, unspoiled countryside, historic buildings, and properties among others that have been passed down from previous generations. As unique individuals, we view and appreciate heritage in different ways. "Everyday Use," written by Alice Walker, is about an African American family which is formed by Mama and her two daughters, Dee and Maggie. The sisters claim two quilts as their ancient heritage to their mom. They have two different viewpoints with regards to the idea of heritage. Dee views her real heritage as dead, something of the past, rather than as a living, ongoing creation. She has set herself outside her own history, rejecting her real heritage in favor of a constructed one. On the other hand, Mama and Maggie see the family objects as being infused with the presence of the people who made and used them.
Despite Dee's personality and education, Maggie deserves to keep the quilts because she appreciates them as family memories.
Dee and Maggie want the quilts which are a symbol of their family heritage; however, their feelings about them are different because Dee does not understand her past, and Maggie knows about her past. Their grandmother made the quilts by hand which makes them unique. There are two special quilts, "Lone Star pattern" and "Walk Around the Mountain" (164). As the mother sees them, she remembers and says, "In both of them were scraps of dresses Grandma Dee had worn fifty and more years ago. Bits and pieces of Grandpa Jarrell's Paisley shirts. And one teeny faded blue piece . . . that was from Great Grandpa Ezra's uniform that he wore in the Civil War" (164). So these quilts, which have become valuable, not only...