The Role of Heritage in Alice Walkers' "Everyday Use" Book Review by Jay Writtings LLC

The Role of Heritage in Alice Walkers' "Everyday Use"
An interpretation of a Alice Walker's short story "Everyday Use" as a study of African-American ideas of heritage.
# 119032 | 1,478 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Mar 26, 2010 in Literature (American) , African-American Studies (General)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


In this review the author argues that Alice Walker uses "Everyday Use" as a way to work through her own identity issues. The paper discusses personality traits from each character in the story which reflect Walkers personal experiences with the Civil Rights movement and African culture.

From the Paper:

"Mama's quaint nature and connection to her immediate ancestors is revealed through her introduction of herself. She never once provides the reader with her first name; she is content with being known as "Mrs. Johnson" and "Mama." Unlike Dee, Mama appreciates her ancestors as people and not as a means of procuring art. When discussing a few family heirlooms - a butter churn and two hand-made quilts - which Dee wants to take back to the city with her, Mama relates specifics on how each was created. The handiwork of her family members makes her proud and she admires the churn handle, worn from years of everyday use: "You didn't even have to look close to see where hands pushing the dasher up and down to make butter had left a kind of sink in the wood" (Walker par. 54). Mama also details the bits and pieces of material that make up each quilt, as well as the family members who made them. The quilts are special to her because she personally knows who created the quilts and why. Drawing on a poem by Nikki Giovanni, Helga Hoel states that quilts are used to express female creativity; this art is created for practical daily applications, not simply for the sake of art (Hoel par. 23). Mama had been saving these quilts to give to Maggie on her marriage day. Even though Dee had refused to accept one of the quilts when she left for college, calling them "old-fashioned, out of style" (Walker par. 67), she now wants to hang them in her home. This baffles Mama; she can not comprehend simply using these quilts as decoration when they could be providing warmth for someone."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Cowart, David. "Heritage and Deracination in Walker's 'Everyday Use.'" Studies in Short Fiction. 1996: 30 pars. LookSmart FindArticles. 20 Nov. 2006 <>.
  • "Everyday Use." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 29 Aug. 2006. Wikimedia Foundation. 20 Nov. 2006 <>.
  • Hoel, Helga. "Personal Names and Heritage: Alice Walker's 'Everyday Use.'" American Studies in Scandinavia 1999: 29 pars. 20 Nov. 2006 < ~helhoel/walker.htm>.
  • Jokinen, Anniina. Anniina's Alice Walker Page. 31 May 2006. Luminarium. 20 Nov. 2006 <>.
  • Walker, Alice. "Everyday Use." 1973: 83 pars. Bow School District. 20 Nov. 2006 <>.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

The Role of Heritage in Alice Walkers' "Everyday Use" (2010, March 26) Retrieved August 04, 2020, from

MLA Format

"The Role of Heritage in Alice Walkers' "Everyday Use"" 26 March 2010. Web. 04 August. 2020. <>