"Everyday Use" by Alice Walker is one example of a great short story. Walker is famous for writing "The Color Purple," which won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.
"Everyday Use" is a great short story because of its wide audience appeal. Although the story focuses on themes important to African-American families, the significance of its central conflict is culturally universal. "Everyday Use" describes the lives of two sisters, Maggie and Dee, who have chosen very different paths. Maggie lives at home with her mother; Dee has gone away to college and is home for a visit. Maggie is considered shy, rural and simple, whereas Dee is considered outgoing, urban and sophisticated.
Conflict arises when there is dispute over who will inherit a family quilt. Dee wants the quilt because she views it as an artistic symbol of her heritage. Maggie is passive about the quilt because she sees it as something functional, and figures she can make another one if it gets worn out. In the end, the narrator of the story, who is the mother of the sisters, decides it is Maggie who should get the quilt, because she is the one more closely attached to her family history through everyday hard work.