In Dee’s attempt to acquire the quilts, she exudes an insincere, covetous presence that forces Mama to ‘turn her back’ on Dee. The negative connotation that Mama gets from Dee stems from the flip-flop nature of wanting the quilts. “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,” (477). Now, Dee wants the quilts as a material possession for remembering her grandma.
Maggie has been promised the quilts, but does not think that they are worth fighting for because she knows she can remember her grandma without them. Mama finally stands up to Dee, and tells her that she promised Maggie the quilts so she could not have them. The story is told in first person point of view through the eyes of Mama.... ... middle of paper ... ...acters through Mama so that each daughter is portrayed in an accurate way. Using the symbol of the quilts deepens the characterization of the daughters because it shows how each character feels about her family and it’s history. Dee is characterized as a shallow person who will go with any trend that comes about while Maggie comes across as a reserved and quiet girl.
It is what a true mother-daughter bond is supposed to be like. When Dee and the mom were arguing over the quilts the narrator said “like somebody used to never winning anything, or having reserved for her,” which is something that mama has a favorite daughter and she lets Dee have whatever she wants without letting Maggie have anything. It seems like mama wants Dee to be happy when she comes down so she will want to come home. Mama even was going to call her by her new name instead of not going to she tried to because it comes off as Dee is her favorite daughter which is why their mother-daughter relationship is different from Maggie 's and mama’s relationship. Even when Dee took what she wanted like when she just went through mama’s things without asking her.
Another example from Everyday Use “You know as well as me you was named after aunt Dicie, Dicie is my sister. She was named after Dee. We called her Big Dee after Dee was born” the mother knows Dee cannot cherish her quilts if she cannot even cherish her own generational name. In the story, Dee changing her name symbolizes how she has grown from her family and has grown closer with the society and their views on heritage and generations. We can determine the frustration the mother had about Dee and how she has forgotten everything that the family went through to even enable her to become who Dee is
Feeling as though she was better than everyone else was because her: waist was small, skin was light, a nice grade of hair, and she was somewhat educated. Dee was in a hurry to get out of the country and never come back. She wrote to her mother saying "no matter where we choose to live, she will manage to come see us. But she will never bring her friends" (Walker 63), letting everyone know that she thought she was too good to continue to take part in her heritage. Maggie was portrayed as a flat character.
Dee, the “heritage queen” portrays a rags to riches daughter who does not understand what heritage is all about. Her definition of heritage hangs on a wall to show off, not to be used. Dee’s avoidance of heritage becomes clear when she is talking to Mama about changing her name, she says, “I couldn’t bear it any longer being named after the people who oppress me” (Walker 75). Thus resembling that Dee just takes another name without even understanding what her original name means. She tries to explain to Mama that her name now has meaning, quality, and heritage; never realizing that the new name means nothing.
In fact she even seems ashamed of her family situation. In a letter to her mother Dee says, " . . . no matter where [they] choose to live, she will manage to come and see [them], but she will never bring her friends" (87).
At the end of the day, I see Dee's character as a weakness because with all the education and sophistication she does not know the true importance of family and heritage. It is ironical that she tells her mother and sister that they do not understand their heritage, because it does seem that she does not know anything about it either she did change her name after all. Personally, I think that one should not live in isolation of ones history because it defines who you are. Irrespective of the kind of education and experiences Dee has, she should understand that culture can never be acquired. Culture can never be turned on and off at will, but that culture is lived.
When Dee starts asking to have the items that her Mom and Maggie need for everyday use with the intent to appreciate it as art, it only furthers how much she irritates her Mom. Dee had been offered one of the quilts before she went to college Dee thought they were, “old-fashioned, out of style.”(490). It’s after Maggie agrees to give Dee the quilts that her Mom realizes that she has always given Dee everything she wanted even at Maggie’s expense. Mother had an epiphany about how to handle the situation, shown when she says, “Something hit me on top of the head”, “just like when I’m in church and the spirit of God touches me”(492). Dee’s attitude had annoyed the Mom so much she had this realization.
when her mother approached her and said “Dee (313).” Dee quickly corrected her mother and said “No mama, not Dee, Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo (313)!” Dee told her mother “I couldn’t bear it any longer being named after the people who oppress me(313).” D... ... middle of paper ... ... mind, it was hers accoriding to her. Mama says that, “Dee looked at me with hatred (321).” The one time that Dee does not get what she wants she flips out. She argued her mother down, “You just will not understand. The point is these quilts, these quilts (321)!” Her self-centered ways would not let her give up. When she realizes that her mother was standing her ground and snatched the quilts away, she just left without saying a word.