Family Heritage Theme In Walker's Everyday Use Essay

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Family Heritage Theme in Everyday Use The theme of a story is important in developing the overall idea that a reader gets upon reflecting on a short story or novel. There are often characters and objects in a story that help to build and reveal the significance of the theme. Oftentimes, we have to look at the main characters of a story to understand the theme and comprehend its value. Alice Walker is a prime example of an author who uses the characters of her story or significant objects to develop the theme. Walker has her own unique method of developing the theme that appeals to many readers because she keeps the story line contemporary. She uses familiar people or objects to develop an appreciation for deeper ideas such as one’s family history. Specifically, Walker uses main characters of her short story “Everyday Use” to reveal the theme of family history. Heritage is a main idea behind this work and it is revealed through characters and objects. The Johnson family was an African American family, made up of individuals who place their own personal values on African American history. Alice Walker uses elements such as the handmade quilt crafted by the Johnson girls’ grandmother to the characters of Mrs. Johnson and her two daughters in “Everyday Use” to reflect African American culture and family heritage, which is a major theme in the work. The quilt is a very important object in “Everyday Use” and is also used to reflect the theme. “This short story, as Christian explains, first articulates the metaphor of quilting to represent the creative legacy that African Americans have inherited from their maternal ancestors” (Whitsitt 309) The significance of the quilt is that Maggie and Dee’s Grandmother handmade it. The quilt can be seen as a memory of Grandma Dee, or as a symbol for black history. The fact that their grandmother made it places

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