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Alice Walker “Everyday Use” Essay, Research Paper

There are many people out there that think they know everything, but rarely do they know that they are lost and trapped by their myopias. ?Everyday Use? by Alice Walker is a story that delves into this subject. Dee is the elder daughter and the only one in the family who has gone to college. However, despite her education she is still a closed minded materialistic person. Dee?s conception of her culture lies in tangible things, which depict her heritage. When she took Polaroid pictures of her mom and sister, she always made sure the house was in the background. She consumed her mother?s sumptuous meal heartily. ?Wangero, though, went on through the chitins and corn bread? sweet potatoes. Everything delighted her…?

Dee does not understand that material things do not carry the real cultural heritage. As Dee was rummaging through the house, she finds two unique quilts. ?In both of them were scraps of dresses Grandma Dee had worn? Bits and pieces of Grandpa Jarrell?s? One teeny faded blue piece? that was from Great Grandpa Ezra?s uniform that he wore in the Civil War.? She wants to preserve it and display it, and was disturbed when her mother tells her she was giving it to Maggie. Dee remarks ?But they?re priceless!? ?Maggie would put them on the bed and in five years they?d be in rags.? Dee knows the history of the quilt, but she sees the worth of the quilt in terms of monetary value.

Dee considers herself a part of the new elite representatives for her people. She views her ethnicity as a tool for making money. Dee?s viewpoint can been seen in this quotation, ?It?s really a new day for us. But from the way you and Mama still live you?d never know it?. Dee tries to make her mother and sister grasp her standpoint, but her efforts were futile. Maggie and her mother are the ones who truly appreciate all the treasures, which carry the memories and essence of the family members.

Dee has been gifted with looks, charm, personality and intelligence. She will not be content with life because she absorbs herself in acquiring wealth and riches. Even though her mother and sister live frugally they are considerably wealthier because they are happy. ?Maggie smiled; maybe at the sunglasses. But a real smile, not scared. After we watched the car dust settle I asked Maggie to bring me a dip of snuff. And then the two of us sat there just enjoying, until it was time to go in the house and go to bed.?


written by Albert Wan an intelligent college student going on the path towards success

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