The short story entitled "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker demonstrates the relationship bond between women of disparate cultural and generational backgrounds. All women represented from different generations have unique attributes that make them stand out in society (Walker, 2004). Understanding the female ages is underpinned in the quilt symbolism. When Dee appears in the story, the vulnerability of women who do not have proper knowledge of their history and background is revealed (Walker, 2004). Mama is, particularly, the narrator of the story. She is a loving mother who is often overwhelmed by the unique behavioral attributes of her daughters, Maggie and Dee. Mama reveals her inner thoughts through a monologue about her relationship with the two daughters. She feels underappreciated for her work as a woman in society.

woman image

Mama gives the guilts to Maggie because she is a diligent daughter who is continually disenfranchised in the distribution of gifts, and Dee tends to acquire everything that she wants, and thus, Mama strikes a balance by gifting Maggie with the quilts. Maggie receives the quilts as she has a genuine reason for having them, and Maggie knows the everyday use of the quilts better than Dee, who wants them out of the bad habit of acquiring things out of greed.

The quilts are important to Mama since they have the historical significance of women's struggle in society. As represented in the short story, quilts symbolize the history of pride and struggle of the women in the society of Mama (Walker, 2004). Although the women struggle, they value their history as the handicrafts from the past generations of extended family members.

Maggie and Mama are women who value the history of the society they hail from, with the quilt holding significant memories of the family lineage. Maggie's receipt of the quilt manifests the passing of the history button from one generation of Mama to the next. Maggie acknowledges the historical significance of women's struggle in society, and thus, she is the rightful owner of the quilt bequeathed to her by Mama.


Walker, A. (2004). Everyday use. Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.