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Essay on The Theme of Heritage in "Everyday Use"

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Readers of Alice Walker's, "Everyday Use", discusses how the narrator realizes that Maggie understands her own heritage. What does the narrator mean when she says, "Just like when I'm in church and the spirit of God touches me and I get happy and shout?" Does the narrator do something amazing that she has not done before? Some readers opine that the narrator knows what it really feels like to have family. Others say that the narrator recognizes the importance of giving. However, both these readings are not with the point. The narrator realizes that Maggie should have the quilts because they embody her heritage.

The title, "Everyday Use", has a specific meaning that lashes on to the story. When the narrator, Walker says, "Maggie can't appreciate these quilts! She'd probably be backward enough to put them into everyday use" (125). The narrator is portraying that Maggie's sister, Dee, also known as Wangero, is the only person who will truly cherish and appreciate the quilts. In other words, Maggie likes the quilts, but she would not put them to everyday use. Mag...


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