Thesis Statement For Maggie In Everyday Use

By Maggie putting the quilts to “everyday use”, she is honoring her heritage in everyday life.Maggie can see when Dee is very upset she finally says, “She can have them, Mama, I can ‘member Grandma Dee without the quilts” (Walker 113).In the story, she has to make a decision about the quilts and which daughter would appreciate them more.

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Heritage is defined as something that is or can be inherited; such as in culture, tradition, or it can be something of importance handed down.

Walker uses the quilts to represent the “creative legacy that African Americans have inherited from their maternal ancestor” and show the “value of the quilt in the Afro-American experience” (Whitsitt).

Mama Johnson is an uneducated, “large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands” (Walker 109).

In the story, Mama Johnson has not lived an easy life and describes how she works like a man.

As Grueser says Maggie is “one [who] accepts the hand that fate has dealt her and attempts to flee any situation posing a potential threat” (Gruesser).

When Dee gets upset about the quilt and Mama having already made a decision to give the quilt to Maggie for “everyday use”, Dee says, “she can always make some more, Maggie knows how to quilt” (Walker 113).She feels “trapped and ignorant” as she cannot read because “her school was closed and she had completed on the second grade” (Farrell 181).She really never found out why the school was closed and was unable to finish school because “in 1927 colored asked fewer questions”(Walker 110).When Dee does speak of her changed name-“it’s as if there is not even a tombstone to make the presence of her absence and it is as if her return seems less a return …she appears a curious visitor who has momentarily stopped off a road which began and ends elsewhere” (Whitsitt).Through heritage, her name was chosen after her aunt and Grandma Dee.In the near future she will marry a local man names John Thomas. Although, she is “homely and ashamed of [her] burn scars down her arms and legs”, so we conclude that when the other house burned down that Maggie must have gotten burned by the fire and now has scars on her body(Walker 109).Mama sees Maggie as a “lame animal” that walks “chin on chest, eyes on ground, feet in shuffle”; this is due to her low self-esteem (Walker 109).By Mama seeing the value in Maggie, she also sees the value in herself.In the short story, the main symbol of heritage is the quilt that is made from different members of the family and different tokens of material were used to piece the quilt itself.So, Dee really does not care how far back her name can be traced into or how long it can be traced.“Mama thinks she could trace the name Dee in their family, as far back beyond the Civil War”, but Dee fails to see how far back that she can trace her name (Cowart).

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