Sample English Paper on Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use”

Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use”

The narrator has two daughters, Dee and Maggie, who have contrasting characters. Dee is very educated and seems to access the best things in life. She is quite outspoken and entitled. On the contrary, is quiet and not as beautiful or bright as her sister. Additionally, she sustained burns from a fire that gutted down their former house, and this makes Maggie feel embarrassed and inferior to her sister. The quilts come up in the story after Dee, who has now changed her name to ‘Wangero’ demands to take them and use them for display (Walker, 1994). They contain fabrics of the clothes that were worn by various members of this family since the Civil War period, which makes Dee attach a heritage value to the quilts “…These are all pieces of dresses that Grandma used to wear. She did all this stitching by hand. Imagine!…(Walker, 1994, p.2719)”

The narrator has intended to give them to Maggie once she gets married. “…I promised to give them quilts to Maggie, for when she marries John Thomas…(Walker, 1994, p. 2720)” Hence Dee’s sudden interest in them creates a conflict. She remains adamant in wanting to have the quilts because she is convinced that Maggie will not appreciate the value of the quilts (Walker, 1994). Moreover, she is concerned that her sister would put the hand-stitched quilts to constant use and hence ruin them in a few years, instead of preserving them. The narrator, being a fair mother, does not want Dee to have her way with the quilts as she does with everything else. Hence, she grabs the quilts from Dee and hands them to her other daughter, to the dismay of Dee. However, judging from the fact that the two recognize the value of the quilts, even though they intend to use them differently, shows that they understand their cultural value.





Walker, A.(1994). Everyday use. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press.