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This story demonstrates that traditional people have the right to preserve their beliefs and practices without interference from modern-thinking individuals, because modernity and traditions are both valuable and no one is superior to another.
Traditional people deserve the same respect and tolerance as modern-thinking individuals. Mama decides that the quilt belongs to Maggie, because they represent the African tradition of using quilts for their functional purposes. The quilt represents rural tradition that only Maggie understands and supports. The quilt has never fundamentally changed and has only expanded, as generations passed it from one family to another. Since Mama knows that Maggie will proudly continue this tradition, she asserts to Dee that Maggie deserves these quilts more than her. Dee reasons with her mother that: “[Maggie is] probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use” (Walker). She looks down on Maggie for being a rural woman with no education and “breeding.” She believes that by treating this quilt as an artifact, she provides a better use for her heritage. Mama, however, is tired of people belittling rural folk. She knows that the quilt belongs to Maggie, because unlike Dee, Maggie will use it for everyday use. And that is what their tradition is for- to be lived each day of their lives.
Modernity and traditions are both valuable to human identity. Mama and Maggie have not changed their traditional attitudes and lifestyles, while Dee completely chooses to change her identity, because she is ashamed of her rural background. Mama and Maggie live simple, rural lives. Mama milks cows, kills boars, and wears flannel nightgowns to bed and overalls throughout the day. Maggie helps her mother in their everyday farm and house chores. By describing how Mama and Maggie love their work, Walker argues that rural people are also happy and content with their lives. Dee is also pleased as a liberal woman. She is the kind of person, who:
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In her attempts to be accepted by her sister, Maggie agrees to everything that Dee has to say. Dee takes advantage of this, using every opportunity she has to point out what is wrong in both her sister’s life, comparing Maggie to her own apparently successful life.
Her current work under discussion came into limelight in the year 1973. The story revolves around a lady belonging to the ‘South’ and her two daughters. Based in the arena of the 60s and the 70s the story is an outcome of the emerging ‘Black’ socialist movements hat were all flared up in those years.
The plot and settings of the short narrative is based on the return of Dee, who is thought to be successful due to the education she has received. Her mother’s imaginary hopes are that her daughter will return home a grateful woman, for all her mother has done to ensure that she receives a good education.
The elder daughter, Dee, is coming home to visit from the a large metropolitan area; the younger daughter has remained with her mother, partly because the girl was horribly burned as a young child when the previous house had burned. While the mother loves both children, she exhibit's a resentment to her elder daughter's worldliness and displays a slight favoritism to her younger daughter, Maggie.
Dee’s external appearance gives the impression that she is proud of her heritage, but she has actually rejected her roots and exhibits her heritage only as an exotic accessory to her life.
Dee’s physical appearance is contrived to give the impression
People had to associate with the appropriate grouping or risk social ridicule. The commonly held notion was that the whites were superior to the African American community who therefore had to subordinate the
Dee studies in the city, far away from home while Maggie stays in the Countryside with her mother. The start of the story shows how Mrs. Johnson is eagerly waiting for her daughter Dee to return home from the city. She has cleaned up her compound in readiness for her arrival. She waits for Dee “in the yard that Maggie and I made so clean and wavy “She further says that the “yard is more comfortable that most people know”.