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Everyday Use | Study Guide

Alice Walker

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Course Hero, "Everyday Use Study Guide," February 9, 2017, accessed May 30, 2023,

Everyday Use | Infographic

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about Alice Walker's Everyday Use. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

everyday-use-alice-walkerAuthenticity vs. SuperficialityMama and Maggie see their American heritage as worthy of memory and respect, but Dee wants to hang the quilt on her wall.DissociationDee returns to gather things that prove her heritage, yet her attitudes dissociate her from her roots.HeritageMama places her heritage firmly in her American roots; Dee rejects oppression, seeing her heritage in Africa.Main CharactersMamaStrong woman used to hard workDeeMamas college-educated daughterHakim-a-barberDees educated boyfriendMaggieDees shy younger sisterIn the Southern United States in 1973, Maggie is used to her sister, Dee, getting everything she wants—and Dee (who now calls herself Wangero) wants Grandmas quilt. She plans to display it as it deserves,” while Maggie would put it to everyday use.” Mama steps in to regulate because heritage, to her, is something you live,not display.Heritage UnderstoodTHEMESEveryday Useby the NumbersYear the film version of “Everyday Usewas released20032003Year Walker received the Domestic Human Rights award from Global Exchange2007Quilts Dee tries to take from her mothers home2Last grade Mama completed in school in “Everyday Use2SymbolsQuiltsSymbolize the frugality,creativity, and skillfulnessof African American womenHandsSymbolize the hardscrabblework women do to makesomething out of nothingClothingRepresents Dees newidentity as a proudblack womanWalker is a writer and activist known for her 1982 novel The Color Purple. Born intoa family of sharecroppers, Walker understands the importance of preserving and celebrating African Americans and their history and identity—and the conflicts that happen when heritage and education mix, as in “Everyday Use.”ALICE WALKERBORN 1944AuthorDee hese are allpieces of dresses Grandma used to wear. She did all this stitchingby hand. Imagine!Alice Walker1973EnglishShort StoryAuthorYear PublishedOriginal LanguageEveryday UseFictionSources: Alice Walker: A Life by Evelyn C. White, Cyprus International University, Encyclopaedia Britannica, IMDb, PBSCopyright © 2017 Course Hero, Inc.

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