Alice Walker

“Everyday Use by Alice Walker” is an interesting tale that reveals the preservation of culture and heritage especially the African American Heritage. The message which is very clear concerns the heritage of the way African Americans used to live their lives. In conclusion that can be made about Walker, her beliefs are that an individual’s heritage remains part of them right from when they are born up to the time that they realize themselves and die. It is something dynamic and part of a culture that has an influence over a larger majority of people. It cannot be observed from a far-off distance. It is a heritage, something that can be practiced as tradition; each member feeling the part and the context of what they are.

There are two major approaches from heritage narrative that can be discerned from the story. One is the narrator who is an African- American woman. She is middle-aged. In her agreement with Walker, the preservation of their heritage comes to light. The quilts are the little twists in the story that make the heritage stick to the generations as they often come through (Cowart, 1996). Dee and Maggie are a true representation of support of the narrator’s view and it is in this way that they practice what their ancestors used to practice. There are various actions that the characters take which symbolize how grounded to the African American culture they are. Their physical attributes speak the same language and it is for this reason that Maggie’s skin is representative of her culture. For instance, she works like a man.

The quilts that are given to Maggie are pieced by the grandma and Dee herself. These are fragments of history and they represent the people through things like uniforms, shirts or scraps of dress. They carry a culture with them and they carry the heritage with them too.




Cowart, D. (1996). Heritage and Deracination in Walker’s” Everyday Use”. Studies in Short Fiction, 33(2), 171.

Walker, A. (1973). Everyday Use