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everyday use

In "Everyday Use" would you agree with the narrator's decision to give the quilts to Maggie rather than to Dee? Give reason for your answer.


I certainly do. It's a pivotal moment for the whole family when Mama makes the decision to turn away from Dee, who has always felt entitled to take anything she wanted, and give the quilts instead to Maggie, who is shy and overlooked and has always lived in the shadow of her sister. The title of the story gives some clue as to why Mama does this. The quilts, in her understanding—and in those of Maggie—may be heirlooms, but they were in fact meant for everyday use. By using the quilts every day, the family traditions are kept alive, and the memories of those who made the quilts—even if Maggie says she doesn't need quilts to remember her grandmother. What Dee wants to do with the quilts is, in Mama's eyes, a rejection of the family tradition, even though Dee thinks she is preserving history. Dee has changed her name and thinks quilts should be hung on walls, as if the days of black women making quilts for their families are consigned to the distant past. Mama does not agree with Dee's attitude. She feels instead that the quilts should be kept to their intended purpose, as that is the real way to keep tradition alive; Maggie's loyalty to her family is far greater than Dee's, even though it is Dee who claims to be invested in their history.

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