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When Dee gets upset about the quilt and Mama having already made a decision to give the quilt to Maggie for “everyday use”, Dee says, “she can always make some more, Maggie knows how to quilt” (Walker 113).
Dee shows that she does not value heritage by changing her name to Wangero.
She adopts an African name “Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo” and rejects her identity (Walker111).
Walker uses the quilts to represent the “creative legacy that African Americans have inherited from their maternal ancestor” and show the “value of the quilt in the Afro-American experience” (Whitsitt).
In Alice Walker’s short story, “Everyday Use”, characterization of a mother and her daughters and the symbolism of the everyday use of a quilt are used to reveal the importance of heritage.
The reason is because of past tradition and history.
Maggie is the youngest daughter who lives at home with her mother and enjoys her lifestyle.In the story, Mama Johnson has not lived an easy life and describes how she works like a man.She feels “trapped and ignorant” as she cannot read because “her school was closed and she had completed on the second grade” (Farrell 181).Through heritage, her name was chosen after her aunt and Grandma Dee.Although, her mother tries to explain how she got her name, she felt like it was not important at all.“Mama thinks she could trace the name Dee in their family, as far back beyond the Civil War”, but Dee fails to see how far back that she can trace her name (Cowart).In times still today, children born have names that are after family members in the past into generations to come.She really never found out why the school was closed and was unable to finish school because “in 1927 colored asked fewer questions”(Walker 110).She also loves and respects her heritage and ancestors from the past.Maggie wants to maintain a lasting connection with her heritage and will pass it on into generations to come.Mama Johnson is an uneducated, “large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands” (Walker 109).