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Everyday Use Alice Walker Each person is raised within a culture a set of traditions handed down by those before us As individuals we view and experience common heritage in subtly differing ways Within smaller communities and families deeply felt traditions serve to enrich this common heritage Everyday Use explores how in her eagerness to claim her heritage a woman may deny herself the experience of ancestral traditions The central theme of Alice Walkers Everyday Use concerns the way in which an individual understands her present life in relation to the traditions of her peoples past culture Everyday Use opens as the narrator and her youngest daughter Maggie await a visit from the older daughter Dee and a man who may be her husbandher mother is not sure whether they are actually married Dee who was always scornful of her familys way of life has gone to college and now seems almost as distant as a film star Indeed her mother imagines being reunited with her on a television show such as This Is Your Life where the celebrity guest is confronted with her humble origins Maggie who is not bright and who bears severe burn scars from a house fire many years before is even more intimidated by her glamorous sibling When Dee arrives she tells her mother and Maggie that they do not understand their own heritage because they plan to put priceless heirloom quilts to everyday use This is especially ironic that Dee wants these quilts now for their artistic value since the narrator had offered them to Dee earlier when she had left to head off to college She had declared then that they were old-fashioned out of style330 The story makes apparent that Dee is likewise confused about the nature of her heritage both from her immediate family and from the larger black tradition The issue of Dees name is fairly exemplary of this confusion Seemingly Dee
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