“Maggie will be nervous until her sister goes.”(Pg.50 line7) This is quote from the story Everyday Use by Alice Walker. The story revolves around a girl called Dee, her mom and sister Maggie. They have different opinions on different subjects especially relating to heritage. Dee is also really selfish which makes her have tension between her family since she only cares about herself. Throughout the story, there were a lot of conflicts between Dee and her family which shows with the quilt incident, butter churn controversy and lastly different views on heritage.
Maggie is also oppressed by society and Dee, and, though to a further degree than her mother, her view of herself attacks her equality compared to the rest of the world. The subject is immediately introduced. The story begins with Maggie and her mother waiting for Dee. They waste their time in order to be available to Dee as soon as Dee
Mama wanted nothing but the best for her; she did everything in her power to get her to college because she wanted her to have a better life than she did. However, Dee used her education against Mama and Maggie in efforts to present her culture in a “better” way. Changing her name to Wangero because her birth name “Dee”, as she informed them “I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people oppress me” (Walker 27). In contrast, Mama and Maggie never changed the way they dressed “African descent” or change their names to portray their true
Dee and Maggie are two completely different people. Dee has different motivations than Maggie. In the short story Mama states: “Dee… at age sixteen had a style of her own: and knew what tyle was.” pg. 105. Dee knew what fashion was and wanted to pursue a career in the industry. On the other hand, we have Maggie. In the short story Mama states: “... for when Maggie marries John Thomas” pg. 108. Unlike Dee, who is very independent,
First off, Maggie is quiet and shy. She is ashamed about how she looks.The story stated,”She will stand hopelessly in corners, homely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs …” Maggie doesn’t know how to be outspoken. She hides herself. When it comes to conflict she wants everyone to be happy. Giving Dee her grandma’s quilts stopped a conflict. She knew this would make Dee happy.
The family leads a hard working, simple and minimalistic life that allows them just enough to get by. Mama is described as a “large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands” (Walker 418). Her day to day life doesn’t allow for the high standards of her eldest daughter Dee. Dee is described by Mama as being unappreciative and bratty. Mama makes is clear that the family’s socioeconomic status would never be good enough for the eldest daughter. Walker’s inclusion of Dee’s attempt to burn down the family home is a great demonstration of how the physical landscape of a character can affect their mental
they are sisters and grew up in the same house. Maggie and Dee are different in their
The point of view in the story “Everyday Use,” by Alice Walker plays a big part. Throughout the story, one of Mama’s daughters came to visit. The way Mama and Maggie see her is not in a very pleasant way. In fact, they are scared to tell her no when it comes to anything. From Mama’s perspective Dee seems like this rude, stuck up, spoiled child because she had the opportunity to go out and expand her education, while Mama and Maggie continued to live their lives on the farm. On the other hand, if the point of view was switched to Dee, the way the reader views her, has a possibility of changing.
In “Everyday Use,” two sister Dee and Maggie have different views on how they should preserve and honor their heritage. The story is told from the point of view of their mother, Ms. Johnson, and it is from her that we learn about the difference in the sister’s characters. Dee, who changes her name to Wangero, is outspoken and is the educated sister. Maggie is shy and appears to be ashamed of the burns on her skin. “[Maggie] thinks her sister has held life always in the palm of one hand, that ‘no’ is a word the world would never learn to say to her” (Walker 6). This is important because, in the end, Dee does not get her way. Dee is the educated
In the story, “Everyday Use,” the oldest sister Dee redefines her views of her family’s heritage. Dee leaves her rural home to receive an education in the city, but when returning back home she has changed completely. Specifically, Dee changes her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo which creates difficulties for her mother. In the story Dee explains, “Couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me" (Walker 318). She views her past name as a reminder that African Americans are not given original names. Dee has also changed her overall appearance and has recreated a new image for herself by wearing brightly colored clothing and changing her voice. Critic of the story, David Cowart, describes Dee changes, “She now styles and dresses herself according to the dictates of a faddish Africanism and thereby demonstrates a cultural Catch-22: an American who attempts to become an African succeeds only in becoming a phony” (Cowart). She alienates herself from her original culture and values the items from her past
This point of view contributes to this story is multiple ways. Mama narrating this story helps to give the reader insight into the past of the characters. Mama was there for everything that happened in the lives of her two daughters, Dee and Maggie. She knows their personalities and how they feel about their heritage and lives. As a result of Mama’s knowledge of these important details, Mama is able to add a contrast between the past and the present. Mama is able to tell the reader where Maggie’s burn scars came from, and what she thinks caused the fire. She tells the reader about the house burning, and how differently the two girls reacted to the fire. “How long ago was it that the house burned? Ten, twelve years? Sometimes I can still hear the flames and feel Maggie’s arms sticking to me, her hair smoking and her dress falling off her in little black papery flakes. Her eyes seemed stretched open, blazed open by the flames reflected in them. And Dee. I see her standing off under the sweet gum tree she used to dig gum out of; a look of concentration on her face as she watched the last dingy gray board of the house fall in toward the red-hot brick chimney. Why don’t you do a dance around the ashes? I’d wanted to ask her. She had hated the house that much” (167). This flashback that Mama shares with the reader provides insight to the personalities of her daughters. Mama tells the reader how Dee used to feel
In the beginning of the story the narrator who is the mom is waiting for her daughter named dee. She waits in the garden with Maggie. She knows that Maggie and dee do not get along. She imagines a big nice family reunion in her head. Maggie is described as a large big boned woman with rough man working hands. Dee is described
Dee has always been ashamed of her African culture and family. Dee would prefer that her mother and sister look different and that her home would be nicer. Her mother always knew how Dee felt about her, “My daughter would want me to be a hundred pounds lighter, my skin like an uncooked barley pancake. But that is a mistake” (par. 6). Dee has returned from college to visit her family, but with a different attitude. In attempts to reconnect with her African roots, Dee has changed her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo. Dee has also taken an interest in embracing her African heritage and has dressed in traditional African clothes to visit her mother. Her mother knows that Dee’s intentions are not genuine. Worrying more about taking pictures of her mother and collecting items that represent the African culture to take back home, Dee neglects to spend time with her family. Her mother notices that Dee, “Lines up picture after picture of me sitting there in front of the house with Maggie cowering behind me. She never takes a shot without making sure the house is included” (par. 22). Dee’s mother realizes that she is trying to be someone she is not. Before leaving to college Dee’s mother had given her a quilt to take with her, but Dee was too embarrassed of it to take it. Now, Dee has asked her mother for it. Infuriated, her mother decided to stop Dee from continuing to
A constant comparison and contrast between Maggie and Dee is prominent structural feature of the narrative. This structural strategy helps in conceptualizing the plurality of female experience within the same milieu. This strategy encapsulates another dimension of womanism, viz., womanism refuses to treat black woman as a homogeneous monolith. Unlike feminist position, womanism is sensitive to change with time. This womanist conceptualization is shown by a nuanced destruction by Dee’s response to the quilt, which is the main metaphor in the story. A typical political rhetoric is represented in the character of Dee. This is a rhetoric which is more aggressive than mature, showier than subtle. Dee ends up in simplifying and commodifying culture, instead of relating it to any meaningful way. She comes out as a being who takes activism as a fad rather than a commitment. And, womanism here represented through Mama, calls for a critical relatedness to the heritage. The narrative articulates the shallowness of Dee’s
In the short story Everyday Use the character Dee shows the character traits of greed, over confidence, and uptight. One example, of Dee being greedy is how she wanted to take the quilts that her grandmother made. This example shows how Dee is greedy because Maggie deserved the quilts more because she acts like part of the family. An example, of Dee being uptight is when she takes pictures of her family and their house, but does not include herself in the picture. Furthermore this shows how Dee is uptight because she is too embarrassed to include herself in the picture. Lastly one example, of how Dee is overconfident is how she use to stop reading to Mama and Maggie. Moreover, this shows that she is overconfident because she thought they would