Maggie is described to have been “eyeing her sister with a mixture of envy and awe” throughout her life as she “thinks her sister has held life always in the palm of her hand…” showing how from Maggie’s perspective, Dee is the favorited sister and desires to attract the same attention (921). From the three women, Maggie feels viewed as the lowest and therefore views the world from the lowest perspective, lacking the confidence and beauty to face the world with the same poise as her sister. Mama then expresses how she, herself, would not look at “a strange white man in the eye...” unlike Dee, who would “look anyone in the eye” (922). This attribute further reflects more of Dee’s self-assurance as this action would be rather unheard of at this time when racism and segregation was highly present and acted upon. Moreover, the differing views from mother and daughter present themselves here once again as Maggie faces the surrounding world with no fear while Mama faces it with her “head turned in whichever way is farthest” (922).
This also influenced the barrier between Dee and her family in which they have different ways of interpreting their values. According to Mama, Dee “never taken a shot without mak’ing sure the house is included” which portrays how dee is using them as a product for her own heritage while still maintaining a barrier between them. Also since Dee was raised having “nice things” she never wanted to recognize her past as growing up in a poverty setting because she was embarrassed of it. When Dee changed her name to “ Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo” she believed she was staying true to her heritage by having an African name, but she failed to realize her real name ‘Dee’ was passed down several generations back to when her family were slaves. Dee has changed her clothing as well to fit her new beliefs and it is the traditional African clothing which Mama finds peculiar because that was not how she raised her daughters.
Mama did not give the quilt to Dee because she denied it before and already decided to give it to Maggie. Maggie’s selflessness reinforces Mama’s current stance on this as well. Maggie declares; “She can have them, Mama” (Walker). With Maggie’s generosity, in contrast to Dee’s greed, Mama makes her final decision. As a mother, it is Mama’s job to make a choice for them.
In the story, Dee is presented to the audience as someone who enjoys nice things and “had a style of her own: and knew what style was.” She wears the typical Americanized clothing style common to that time period. However, when she arrives at her family’s home, her family finds that she has completely altered her style: Walker writes in description of Dee, “A dress to the ground, in this hot weather. A dress so loud it hurts my eyes. There are yellow and oranges enough to throw back the light…It is her sister’s hair. It stands up straight up like the wool on a sheep…and around the edges are two long pigtails…” For Dee, the changing of her hair and clothing is a way for her to further the change of her identity.
Sisters, Dee and Maggie differ in ideas of heritage. They are both born to the same mother, but with different appearances, personalities, and values of their background. To begin with, before Dee leaves home, she does not relate to her mother and sister in no way, shape or form. While Maggie possesses burn wounds and is very thin and her mother is big boned, Dee is
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).
As she waits for Dee, Mama looks around the yard and at Maggie, triggering memories of Dee’s troubled childhood in their house—her anger towards her family and their poverty, her hunger for higher quality clothes and an education, her charisma, assertiveness, and her beauty. Mama thinks about how Dee’s attitude towards them changed as she became educated thanks to money from Mama and the Church, turning her from hateful to hurtfully condescending. As she remembers Dee as a child, Mama contrasts her with Maggie—a diffident, kind, homely young woman with a scar on her face from the house fire. Mama recounts the traumatizing fire, which burnt down their home, and forced them to build a new one, exactly
Furthermore, Mama believes that Dee will be more successful daughter as she is the one who is pursuing a secondary education, and Maggie is not pursuing an education. Mama continually dismisses Maggie and treats her like an abomination, the daughter that she is ashamed of. Walker also uses irony to convey Momma’s eventual disappointment with Dee’s attitude towards her family. When Dee returns home from college she has completely changed her entire being, she adopted a new name, new mannerisms, and
Her very successful beauty empire is ruled with a soft touch. She believes in inspiring her staff to greater heights by encouragement for a job well done. Clearly, Doe Deere is a different type of leader. She is also on a personal mission to prove that makeup is more than a tool to cover up imperfections. Makeup and all cosmetics should be viewed as a tool to release a person's