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Not Just A Blanket Essay

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Grandma Dee’s old dresses, Grandpa Jarrell’s paisley shirts, and one faded blue piece from Great Grandpa Ezra’s Civil War uniform shows that quilts aren’t always just a blanket. They can be so much more. Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” is a story that’s all about heritage. This theme is shown by Walker's use of conflict, irony, and symbolism. A symbol is when the author uses an object in the story to represent a greater meaning. In this case, the quilt is a symbol of the family heritage that can only be appreciated by certain people. It symbolizes a long line of relatives. As you pick up a quilt and look at it, it has several pieces of cloth that are all sewn together. These quilts weren’t made in a factory, by a machine; they were each pieced together by hand. Elisabeth Piedmont-Marton simply put, “the quilt is a metaphor for the ways in which discarded scraps and fragments may be made into a unified, even beautiful, whole” (43). Something such as a quilt that was hand-made makes it special. Only dedication and years of work can represent a quilt. Each quilt can have different meanings and memories. You can tell a story with every individual stitch and each little piece will remind you of someone or something; a major event in your family, a lost loved one, the possibilities are endless. The major characters in “Everyday Use” are Mrs. Johnson and her two daughters, Maggie and Dee (who later changed her name to Wangero). Mrs. Johnson is a muscular African American woman with a second grade education. Maggie is a very self-conscious girl with many scars on her body, while her sister Dee is very confident, educated, and good-looking. The story centers around one day when the older daughter, Dee, visits from college after time away and a...

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