Evaluation/Analysis on Alice Walker: Everyday Use Essay

Alice Walker, an African American author and activist born in Eatonton, Georgia in 1944 (p. 69). Walker resembled a lot of African Americans in her time raised by hard-working underpaid parents, this is shown in her writing. Alice Walker and her now eliminated husband were the very first interracial couple in Mississippi. Once a poet, Walker worked with other influential authors including Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes. Everyday Usage informs the reader about the life experiences and struggles of heritage and approval through the eyes of African Americans.

Sociology books do not explore the relationship of Americanized African American heritage vs. that of those that never left the motherland. Kate Chopin was apart of the revolutionary African American period, which is not common today. This cultural aspect is shown in her story Everyday Usage when her character fails to see the household heritage signified in differs items in her home. You can connect to the story no matter what your nationality due to the fact that everybody has culture and heritage of some sort. This story is extremely interesting, and the reader has the ability to see lots of perspectives.


Everyday Use is fixated the homecoming of Dee. Anticipating her arrival, mother and her youngest daughter Maggie “await her in the front lawn” which for them is an extension of the living room (p. 69, 1). Maggie is frightened by her sister and is really anxious about the home coming of her more assertive sibling. While the mother is waiting she has a vision of her and Dee being reunited in the very same method that “a child who has made it is challenged, as a surprise by her mother and father who are backstage” (p. 70, 3). She is knocked back to reality when she understood that she might never, unlike her daughter “look a white man in the eye” (p. 70, 6). Maggie is nervous about the entire ordeal and when Dee lastly arrives she “attempts to make a dash for your home,” but her mother held her by her side (p. 72, 19).

When Dee and her partner leave the car, they greet Mother and Maggie in Arabic “Asalamalakin” suggesting peace be with you (pg.72, 22). Dee encouraged her mother and sister of her name change, which signifies the death her “slave name” and the rebirth of a more culturally conscious woman (p. 70, 4). Dee takes images of her surroundings, and starts to see the products of “daily usage” as cultural design for her house. Eventually she asked her mother if she could have the old quilts (p. 75, 55). She informed her mother that she wanted to hang them, but her mom has actually currently guaranteed the quilts to Maggie when she got married. Dee did not get the quilts that she felt Maggie would not appreciate. She left the house recommending her enjoyed ones to explore their heritage, and to Maggie “make something of [herself] (p. 76. 80).


In the short story “Everyday Usage” the primary conflict is over which child will get the quilt. This is not just a normal quilt; it has actually remained in the household for many years. The quilt was made from “pieces of gowns Grandma used to use, and “she did all the stitching by hand” (p. 75, 60). Dee wanted the quilts so that she could hang them up, however her mother had currently promised the quilts to her more youthful sister Maggie. The quilt is a sign of the mother’s love and approval of her child and the value that is put on the relationship. In the story there are 2 children, Dee is extremely smart, and went off to college and has become successful. Her mother is proud of her and often boasts on her achievements. Maggie on the other hand was shy and simple.

She was burned as a kid and has scars on her arms and legs. She lives with her mom, and is really worried about Dee getting back. The quilt is a symbol of the families’ heritage in Dee’s eyes, however most significantly it is a sign of materialism. The use of the phrase “daily use calls attention to the two child’s different views of the quilt and other household treasures. Dee wanted the quilt to take house and safeguard it, where as Maggie would, “put them on the bed and in 5 years they ‘d be rags (p. 75, 66). Dee acts superior to her family, she believes that her education has been eye opening and she is living and seeing life through open eyes. She pities her mother a sis for “picking” to live the basic life. What Dee has actually failed to recognize it that her mom and sibling have a deeper connection to heritage due to the fact that they understand their own personal heritage and not just the overall heritage of a group of people.