Everyday Use

Disscussion question

11.) Why does Mrs. Johnson decide to stand up to Dee and not allow her to take the quilts at the end of the story?

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After dinner, Maggie cleans up in the kitchen while Dee (now Wangero) goes through a trunk in Mama’s bedroom. She emerges with two quilts made from scraps of clothing dating back several generations, and demands to have them. Maggie slams the kitchen door. Wangero refuses to take a different quilt that is machine-stitched. The quilts are promised to Maggie on her wedding, but her sister is not dissuaded. Mama recalls how Dee refused a quilt Mama had offered her before she left for college, saying that they were old-fashioned. But Mama does not say this aloud. Wangero is horrified to learn that Maggie will be putting them on beds to be used every day. Mama is confused—how else would they be used? But Wangero says angrily that Mama is missing the point of the quilts, and that they must be hung up. At the commotion, Maggie appears in the doorway and says Wangero can keep them, as she “can ‘member Grandma Dee without the quilts.” At this moment, Mama is filled with a great force through her body, as when the spirit of God touches her in church. She hugs Maggie to her, and bringing her to the bed, snatches the quilts from Wangero’s hands and gives them to a dumbfounded Maggie. She tells Dee to take one or two of the other quilts.