Everyday Use (Contrast and Compare Wangero and Maggie)

Maggie and Wangero (Dee) are sisters. Maggie still lives with their mother in the family home. Wangero has moved on and lives in the city. Wangero has changed her name from Dee to get more in touch with her heritage. After years of shunning her African American background, Wangero now wants to embrace it. Wangero is used to getting her way. Her mother has never not given her everything she‘s asked for. She’s educated, clothed, and has grown into an attractive young woman. Maggie on the other hand is still living on the farm.

She didn’t receive the same opportunities as her sister. A fire has left her scared, more than just physically. She is more introverted then Wangero. She’s not used to getting her way but still plodding through life with the expectations of a future. She knows her life will be servitude to her future husband John Thomas. Life has just passed her by when it comes to the values that her sister Wangero holds dear. The only things the two have in common are two quilts handed down from generation to generation.

The quilts are made from bits of clothing from their ancestors past. Hand sewn these quilts are the fabric of their families history. Each piece of cloth that is sewn in the quilt has a story of its own. Each has its place in the family’s’ long history. This is the common bond between the two. Wangero wants these to try and recoup her lost history. She has lost her roots. Roots she not so long ago scoffed and pushed aside for a new life, a new culture. Two quilts that she wants to use as a symbol of her heritage.

She wants people to see her heritage. Bits of old cloth sewn together demonstrating her oppressed past. Allowing people to see, she has over come her past. That she is no longer oppressed. In contrast Maggie has lived her family’s values. She is part of the family’s history its heritage. One day she will add a piece of cloth to the quilts and pass them down to her children. Unlike Wangero she has worked and toiled through life. She lives her heritage on a daily basis. Wangero and Maggie’s mother promised the quilts to Maggie.

The quilts are most probably the only thing that Maggie values. Maggie is upset with the fact that Wangero just takes them. Wangero clutches the quilts to her chest with a sense of ownership. Maggie in the tradition of her heritage is willing to let Wangero keep them. She is upset with her siblings’ selfishness. She knows that the quilts are rightfully hers. She is willing to part with them to allow Wangero to regain her concept of the family heritage. Maggie knows that no matter what Wangero tries she will never truly regain what she has thrown away.

The mother tells Wangero that the quilts are Maggies and she may choose other ones but not those quilts. Wangero realizes that her mother prizes Maggie’s sense of family. She knows that Maggie will add to them and to the family’s history. The quilts for Wangero are a symbol of her heritage. Maggie is part of her heritage. She is a piece of fabric in the quilt. Wangero may never be part of the quilt. She shunned her heritage years ago. Works Cited Kennedy, X. J. , Dana Gioia, and Alice Walker. “Everyday Use. ” An Introduction to Fiction. Boston: Longman, 2010. 455-61. Print.

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