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Everyday Use

             In the short story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker the title ties into the issues about the quilts. The first level of meaning in the title can be the basic meaning; Dee wants the quilts to be hung so people can admire their beauty. On the other hand the quilts were promised to Maggie as a wedding gift. Dee says "Maggie knows how to quilt" meaning she doesn't need them because she can make her own. If you take the meaning for what it says you find that Maggie won't know how to appreciate the quilts for more than what they are. Dee feels she deserves them more because she won't put them to everyday use.
             The second level of meaning in the title can be the two sisters have different ideas when it comes to their culture. From down the line Grandma Dee and Big Dee created their quilts for everyday use and that's what Maggie wants to continue. Dee actually is putting the quilts to everyday use also by having them displayed for their appearance. In actuality the quilts mean so much more to Maggie. You can see the difference in their reactions to the quilts. Even though the mother speaks for Maggie, Maggie seems to have more of a love and respect for her heritage than her sister. The quilts mean more to her, that's why she wants to keep them (even though she doesn't say so). Dee does not realize that the quilts have so much meaning all she sees is its beauty. If she actually saw the true beauty and not the artistic beauty of the quilts she would not want to take them and hang them up like they were the Mona Lisa. Walker is trying to show us that the art is in the work that was put into making them. They were passed down by fellow quilters and for Dee to only want it for show demonstrates that she doesn't understand where she came from or what the quilts are really all about.
             The third level of meaning in the title can be the quilt represents the family as a whole. Dee has broken away from the family and made a new life for herself, Maggie is still at home being loved by her mother.

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