Symbolic Meaning of the title "Everyday Use" and how it relates to the theme in Alice Walker's short story "Everyday Use".
The short story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker is narrated by "Big Dee" a black woman in the south who is faced with the decision to give away two quilts to one of her daughters. Dee, her oldest daughter who is visiting from college, being very materialistic perceives the quilts as popular fashion and believes they should be undoubtedly be given to her. Meanwhile Maggie, her youngest daughter, who still lives at home as well as understands the family heritage, and is not materialistic, has been promised the quilts.
Dee argues that Maggie would not appreciate the quilts and that "She"d probably be backwards enough to put them to everyday use." In the twentieth century quilts were used on beds, as covers for doors and windows, and as floor mats for children to play on. Everyday use is what the quilts were intended for when they were made, although they carried such deep underlying meaning. Where as Dee feels that it would be a shame to let the quilts deteriorate from everyday use, and not be shown off for the treasures they really are. .
Maggie on the other hand truly understands the sentimental value of the quilts, knowing how to make them herself. Unlike Dee, Maggie knows that the quilts were pieced together by their mother and grandmother from old scraps of clothing that their grandparents had worn over fifty years ago. Maggie knows that the quilting helps to represent the creative legacy that was inherited from their ancestors. .
The "quilt is a metaphor for the ways in which discarded scraps and fragments may be made into a unified, even beautiful whole" (Everyday Use). The old scrap of clothing that was used in the making of the quilt, each scrap has a dignified story, or significant meaning. There was a scrap of clothing from Maggie and Dee's great grandfather's uniform from the war.