Good Example Of Quilt In Everyday Use Argumentative Essay
Quilt is an important feature in the story since it symbolizes several things. It has a lot of history in it that include pieces of uniform that were worn by Dee’s great grandfather during civil war and the clothes that Dee’s great grandmother used to wear. According to the author, civil war marked an important history to the lives of the African American. Though the women in the story belongs to different generations, quilt represent a mean of fashioning them together as well as their enduring legacy as they work together on it (Martin 27). It acts as a bond of uniting them together amidst their differences that arose due to the fact that they came from different generations.
Secondly, Quilt also acts a symbol of negro-American experiences. They act as pieces of history that is documented fin the fabric as chronicles for the experiences that past generation passed through. It acts as a reminder of bad experiences such as poverty and war they encountered in the past probably to make the lives of generations to come after them better. In the late nineteenth century, Native Americans adopted quilt as one way of reserving their traditions in the midst of the cultural disruption (Mullins 37). They comprised of many colors just to represent many tribes that lives in sub-Sahara Africa, the origin of the Native Americans. They express important spiritual and cultural values of Native American groups especially women. Even today, Native Americans use quilt to mark an important point in peoples’ lives as well as in other ceremonies. In the story, quilt acts as a testament to the history of the family particular to represent struggle as well as pride. With challenges of lack of education and poverty, mama believes that her personal history was an important treasure to pass to her generation.
Thirdly, quilt also represents important creative activities that women developed in order to pass their traditions and history from one generation to the next. Native American women used quilt to retain their traditions that were difficult to sustain due to changing time and emergence of new life styles. For example, the developed quilt as a way on preserving their crafting traditions that could be easily eroded by the emerging clothing cultures. Although the bond between different generations is strong, the arrival of Dee and her inability to understand their traditions clearly shows that those links are vulnerable, hence the need to preserve them through quilt (Sarnowski 269). Although mama did not inherit any financial material from her ancestors, she was given quilts and handicrafts to represent the origin of their family. In her perspective, these objects have value that her daughter Dee cannot understand.
Dee seems not to understand the importance of the quilts since it just contains clothes’ swatches that were owned or worn by their ancestors. They make no sense to her just like the way she cannot comprehend where her name came from. Although she says that she will preserve and care for the quilt, Dee seems not to be ready to do so. Her intellect and exposure has changed her and she does not see in value in their traditions that are passed to her by mama. She wants to use them for artistic value, by hanging them on a wall, just like other artistic objects in the museum. She intends to use them to make herself happy, without any historical legacy. She no longer value and appreciate their traditions due to her education and exposure (Walker 852). At one point in the story, she criticizes her mother and young sister for remaining in old ways of thinking and living. At the end of the story, mama snatches quilts from her elder daughter to ensure she does not carry it with her when she leaves. This was mainly because Dee was not intending to use quilts the way her mother intended them to be used. She also wanted to pass them to her daughter young daughter Maggie because she knew their value to the history of their family. Her mother knew that Dee was not the right person to preserve their family history since education has changed her completely. This shows that she is not willing to continue preserving their traditions since they are not valuable in her perception.
On the other hand, Maggie is not educated and exposed and only knows where she comes from. She has not travelled other places like her sister, and she is ready to receive any instructions from her mother without any question. This explains why she intend to use quilt just the way her mother has instructed her. According to mama and her daughter, quilts represent their family history that is worth preserving (Whitsitt 443). They always remind them of their loved ones who lived before them and experiences they passed through. It is ironical that Dee seems to care and protect quilts from destruction by her younger daughter yet she does not know their true significance.
Martin, Jennifer. The quilt threads together sisterhood, empowerment and nature in Alice walker's the color purple and "everyday use". Journal of Intercultural Disciplines, 14(2014):27-44.
Mullins, Matthew. Antagonized by the text, or, it takes two to read Alice Walkers 'Everyday Use'. In: The Comparatist, 37(2013):37.
Sarnowski, Joe. Destroying to Save: Idealism and Pragmatism in Alice Walker's "Everyday Use." Papers on Language & Literature, 48.3(2012): 269-286.
Walker, Alice. Everyday Use. The Story and Its Writer. Ed. Anna Charters. Compact 8th ed. Boston: Bedfor/St. Martin's, 2011. 852-858. Print.
Whitsitt, Sam. “In Spite of It All: A Reading of Alice Walker's 'Everyday Use”. African American Review, 34.3 (2000): 443.