"Everyday Use," is creative writing of Alice Walker, which appears as come to be a pillar of her works. She as used quilting in her writing as metaphors and this as changed the way we define art, culture and identity of African American lives and this as left a mark in this field of creative writings. She plays a great role in creating a path for other black women writers when she puts the voices of African American women at the center stage of her narrative. Alice Walker puts the family of Mrs. Johnson at the center stage of her writings in the Everyday Use, to bring out different themes on the theme of education, love and culture but all this trickles down to the values and identities of each one of them.
Everyday Use presents the short story of a small family where Mama (narrator) and her two daughters namely Dee (eldest) and Maggie (youngest). The story presents Mama as old-fashioned while Maggie was a quiet and shy girl and Dee had exposure because she was educated and harrowed trends of her times. The theme of love is evidently involved when Mrs. Johnson, who is Dee's mother specifically, plugs to a particular connection with her physical environment: she eagerly waits for Dee his arrival in the yard that Maggie and I made so clean and wavy. The stress on the somatic physical appearance of the yard and the inclination manifested it by the term so, directly showed the affection and love that she and Maggie had for their home and their daily routine of their lives. In fact, yard the are talking about is not just a yard but it is like an extended living room, The theme of love also is portrayed by the fact that she had that self-love or acceptance however much she was described that: she is a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands even if she never found comfort in her way of life since her fat keeps [her] hot in zero weather but and her readiness to admits the loving manner, that is like good looks and money, quickness passed her by makes her stand out . Above all, she harmoniously continued to struggles for her family as an African-American woman, and that shows her love to observe her culture. Lastly, her love for Dee to succeed in education was evident because we are told that Mrs. Johnson would go even in church to collect money so that she can pay her school fees.
Surprisingly enough, when Dee and her boyfriend visited Mama and Maggie, they were all highly fashioned and to make matters worse Dee had changed her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo. This makes her start looking down upon them, and she thinks Maggie will not show up on her rich Arabic and Muslim boyfriend, so she will rather retrieve and confine herself to a corner when she arrives because the scars Maggie had on the legs and hands she got from their previous house which burned down thus this made her describe Maggie as an attractive, shy and frightened. She takes advantage of her education shapes her character in this time for worse. Because Mrs. Johnson says, She used to read to us without pity; forcing words, lies, other folks habits, whole lives upon us two, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice. That means her education made her depart from her self-respect and that of their culture which she denied.
What pleases me most is the willingness of Mrs. Johnson to stick to their culture and how she wished it to have the continuity it needed. All this is supported by the fact that she took her time to teach Maggie on how she can quilt. Also, she treasures her mother's quilts which she got as a heritage and which she promised to give Maggie as present on her marriage. This shows quest to link her daughters to their traditions and African roots in general. Am happy for Maggie because she mustered the art of quilting and even the traditions, and she would sing and honor the memories of their ancestors, and this was their heritage. But my frustrations as the reader goes to Dee when she demanded to take the quilts which were pieced by Grandma Dee and then Big Dee (76), from Maggie so that she can decorate their house with the rich boyfriend. She tends to forget that what she was demanding for was the fruits of the traditional in heritage she was running away from and funny enough when she realized she was not winning she left with her gorgeous boyfriend.
Walker, Alice. Everyday Use. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 8th ed. New York: Longman, 2002. 88-95.
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