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EVERYDAY USE CommonLit Answers – FREE Access
Find the answer key for the topic “EVERYDAY USE” below:
Note: Be prepared to share your original ideas in a class discussion.
Discussion Questions & Answers
Following are our answers based on the questions provided:
Q.1. Do you think Dee is being true to her heritage? Why or why not?
Ans: Dee is true to her heritage because she views Africa as her real heritage. The term Heritage can be defined as the background from where the individual comes and resides. It includes a range of traditions, places, events, monuments, and cultures. Dee has little understanding about her heritage which is lost in the past and now true heritage is empty and false for her. She comes up with a new identity and represents the African heritage. Therefore, it can be concluded that Dee is true about heritage.
Q.2. In the context of the text, what makes a family? Why do you think Mama is closer with Maggie than she is with Dee? What is important in order to keep a family close? Cite examples from the text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.
Ans: The question is related to the story entitled “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker. In the context of the text, not only living together makes a family but also having “respect” for each other. In relation to this, the experience that the family goes through also indicates what a family truly is.
Mama is closer to Maggie because Maggie follows her mom’s footsteps. She was also living with her mother and she was passionate about using things for everyday use, unlike Dee who only used things for the purpose of art. Dee is also ambitious, which makes her different from Maggie.
“Keeping in touch” makes a family close to each other. Although people grow up and start living different lives, they should set aside time to have a reunion or even catch up through chat on the internet or over the phone. This shows how you care for the others and how you also support them.
Q.3. In the context of the text, can you change your identity? How important is a person’s heritage to their identity? Do you think your heritage is something you can control or alter? Why or why not?
Ans: Nobody can change their identity. The importance of someone’s heritage is very important because that way he or she can know the culture in which he or she was born to decide to follow it or choose other ideals. You can’t control your heritage, but you can decide who to be.
The perspective to view these answers is a developmental one. Thus, we can’t change the place where we come from, but if we find it is not appropriate we can decide to learn another environment’s ideals and follow them instead of the ones that belong to the place we were born. That is the reason why we can’t change our heritage and the importance of it. We can’t control the place we are born, but we can control who we want to be. Someone who follows the culture our caretakers gave us, or the culture we find more suitable for us.
Assessment Questions & Answers
Following are our answers based on the questions provided:
Q.1. PART A: Which of the following best identifies the main theme of the text?
Ans: The modern world often demands that people change, whether they want to or not.
Q.2. PART B: Which detail from the text best supports the answer to Part A?
Ans: “I didn’t want to bring up how I had offered Dee (Wangero) a quilt when she went away to college. Then she had told me they were old-fashioned, out of style.” (Paragraph 69)
Q.3. PART A: What prompts the narrator to refuse to give Dee the quilts she wants?
Ans: She realizes that Maggie never gets what she deserves.
Q.4. PART B: Which section from the text best supports the answer to Part A?
Ans: “She looked at her sister with something like fear, but she wasn’t mad at her. This was Maggie’s portion. This was the way she knew God to work.” (Paragraph 76)
Q.5. What does the phrase “the scalding humor that erupted like bubbles in lye” suggest about Dee? (Paragraph 14)
Ans: Her sense of humor is hurtful.
Q.6. How does the following passage contribute to readers’ understanding of Maggie? “‘Aunt Dee’s first husband whittled the dash,’ said Maggie so low you almost couldn’t hear her. ‘His name was Henry, but they called him Stash.'” (Paragraph 52)
Ans: The passage contributes to the readers’ understanding of Maggie by referring to a particular trait of her character: her shyness. She is a withdrawn and unassuming girl and she lacks confidence in herself, in part as a result of a terrible accident that left burn scars on her arms and legs – by contrast, her sister Dee is pretty, resolute, self-indulgent and stylish. And that’s why even though she can exactly remember who whittled the dasher that her self-centered sister wants to keep for her, and even what he used to be called, she expresses herself in an almost inaudible voice. As her mother reveals earlier in the story, “She has been like this, chin on chest, eyes on the ground, feet in shuffle.” She also compares Maggie with somebody “used to never winning anything.”
Q.7. How does Dee’s perspective on the family’s possessions compare to the rest of her family’s?
Ans: Dee is a more educated individual than the rest of her family (her sister Maggie and her mother). She has been exposed to more varied experiences and different types of people. This leads her to think of her cultural background and her legacy in a different way than the way her mother and sister think about it. When Dee looks at her grandmother’s quilts, she sees a piece of culture and a testament to her family’s legacy. Therefore, she thinks of them as something precious that cannot be used every day. However, Maggie sees them as something that her grandmother made for them to use. She sees them as a comforting and familiar piece that is not meant to be preserved but is meant to be used and enjoyed. The mother agrees with Maggie’s view and struggles to connect with the more worldly Dee.
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In CommonLit, “EVERYDAY USE” is one of the students’ favorite short stories authored by Alice Walker for grade 9 students.
In this short story, a daughter comes home to visit her mother and sister with a new understanding of her identity.
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