Character Analysis of Maggie Johnson in 'Everyday Use' by Alice Walker

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When two daughters are raised alike yet live differently, there is a fine line of distinction between the traits and aspirations of the two, as Alice Walker drew portraits of three women in a family in "Everyday Use". Maggie Johnson was the youngest of the two daughters, and her older sister Dee had gone to college and hadn 't been home in over a decade. Maggie stayed at her mother 's side, to make a life for herself that seemed suitable for her. In this story, Maggie is a fragile young woman, however a strong character that is opposite of her sister Dee, who underestimates Maggie for the person she is.

The story takes place at 'mama 's ' house, where Maggie and Mrs. Johnson were at their home waiting for Dee to come for a visit. She had
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As this story unfolds, the visit from Dee is anything but pleasant. She arrives home and is instantly commanding that she be referred to by her new name, Wangero. This was given to her as a changed black Muslim, something she apparently got involved in after she left her mother 's home for college. The author refers to Dee as Wangero in the rest of the story, making her seem like she has some guise for herself to pull her further from her family roots. She claims that she "couldn 't bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me" (76). The name Dee had been in her family for generations, Mama "could have carried it back beyond the Civil War through the branches" (76). This is an important symbol when comparing Dee to Maggie, as Dee is in a sense rejecting her family, and Maggie embraces every memory from it.

The moment Maggie opens her mouth around her sister, it 's as though Dee was there only to make her life more miserable, making harsh and snide comments at Maggie 's every word. " 'Maggie 's brain is like an elephant 's ', Wangero [said]" (77). After rummaging through Maggie 's trunk, Dee insisted that her mother let her take the quilts that were put away. Mama told Dee that she was saving them to give to her sister after she married but Maggie said, "She can have them, Mama, I can 'member Grandma Dee without the quilts" (78). Family to Mama and Maggie is not just made up of tangibles and
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