Book Review of Everyday Use


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Heritage, that is or can be inherited; cultured tradition, that is handled down. Based on a world of distant dream. "Everyday use", by Alice Walker tells the story of a young woman who has "found" her roots and a family who is living theirs. Life as a middle class family can be a difficult task to accomplish. From an educated child to a non educated child. From living life to the fullest to not living life at all. Is heritage the basis of a person's entire persona?

The life of an adolescent is a time of growing and understanding. For Dee leaving for college was a journey to find her roots. Her confidence and good looks has gotten her far. "We raised the money the church and me to send her to Augusto to school(66). Dee has been blessed with everything that a young adult would want. She is educated and knowlegde has always been on her side. Though everything has been done for her while in her favor, she expects everything she asks for. Growing up Dee never learned to cook or quilt. Her mind was on the finer things in life. "Dee wanted nice thing"(66). She didn't care about the news of ancestors. She had friends and school to think about. As Dee grew older, she "found" her new heritage. Though a style of changing her birth name, to a name given to her by her roots; Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo. Since Dee was given to her by the people who had oppressed her. Dee was dead and Wangero stood in her place.

"Have you ever seen a lame animal, perhaps a day run over"(66). A timid animal a person never spoken for. That is the description for young Maggie. She is a dancer complexion for than her sister. Just like a timid animal, she is quiet and passive. "She thinks her sister has held life always in the palm of one hand, that "no"is a word the world never learned to say to her"(65). Maggie is not as beautiful as beautiful as Dee, she has been scarred by the fire from the previous house. She is talented just not like her sister, learning to cook and clean and ways of has lived her roots, has learned from the family about the way of life. Items were never given to her, her scared personality kept her from her same dreams as others.

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Her homely ways kept her in tune with her heritage. She was living it, as so she should.

Though Mama wasn't the prettiest of them all and wasn't the smartest either, she had raised two different daughters. Both with talents of their own and traits only they provided. She showed favoritism more toward Dee(Wangero) mostly because she was smarter and prettier. Mama gave Wangero everything she wanted, right down to the churn top and the dasher, but there was one thing Wangero would never get her hands on. The quilts had been promised to Maggie the day she got married. It wasn't right for Wangero to come back and take them, she had been offered the quilts before when she first went off to college. Mama finally took charge and gave Maggie something she deserved and probably something she needed. She wasn't blessed with good looks and intellect, but she did have a open heart and heitage to show for it.

The quilts were a symbol of "roots" and togetherness. They had been quilted by Big Dee and momma. A part of the family had been quilted as well. "Placed by Grandma Dee and then Big Dee and me had hung them on the quilt frames on the quilted them. They were not art, they were made for the purpose of using. Who would put them to use? Wangero definitely would not, her main focus was to show off her heritage that she basically knew nothing about. Maggie in turn would put the quilts to good use on cold winter nights when they would be mostly needed. So who should get the quilts?


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