Everyday Use” by Alice Walker

Questions on “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker

Instructions: Please answer the following questions, save this file with your name at the end and upload it in your online classroom. Thank you.

  1. How do the mother’s observations about the family reunion presented on television introduce the conflict in the story?  Why does the mother’s decision to give the quilts to Maggie mark the climax of the story?  How do Wangero’s comments about heritage and advancement bring the story to its ironic conclusion?
  2. How does the mother’s description of her working ability help to establish her character?  How do Maggie’s scars explain her apprehension about her sister’s visit?  In what way do Dee’s attire, boyfriend and new name comment on her mother’s observations that Dee “knew what style was”?
  3. How do the mother’s opening and closing references to the yard evoke the setting of the story?  Why does the mother suspect that Wangero will want to “tear down” the house?  Why does Wangero photograph the house and pay so much attention to the benches, and the quilts? 
  4. What is the mother’s point of view toward Maggie’s accident and Wangero’s education?  How does she explain the cause of her dramatic decision at the end of the story?
  5. How do the quilts symbolize the conflict of tradition and progress?  For example, why did Wangero refuse the quilt when she went to college?  Why does she now suggest that putting them to “everyday use” is backward?  How would you compare the mother’s comment that “Maggie knows how to quilt” with Wangero’s comment that her sister should “make something” of herself?
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