When Dee comes back to visit her family she makes herself an outcast. Dee greets her family with a language that they are not familiar with. She wants things from her “past” life to decorate her house with. Dee distances herself further by changing her name. Dee believes that her name is a way of tying her self to the “people who oppress” her (2440) instead of thinking about her family’s history with that name. She claims that Dee is dead and her new name was Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo. Dee’s beliefs are also shallow. Her and her boyfriend Hakim-a-barber are supposed to be Muslim but when mama makes food with pork she gobbles it down.
The fear of loosing the culture and heritage leads Dee back home. The possessions that she asks for are a small way to regain a portion of life she has forgotten. Dee does not accept the lifestyle that Mama and Maggie are living. ?You ought to try to make something of yourself, too, Maggie. It?s really a new day for us. But from the way you and Mama still
In the short story Everyday Use Dee returns home to visit her mother and her younger sister Maggie. Dee had gone off to college to receive a higher education while Maggie stayed home to help
In this story, Dee is completely unappreciative. One can get the feeling that the mother in the story had worked long and hard rearing her daughters, and has even gotten Dee into college somehow. Dee returns with her college education and new personality trying to preach to her mother and sister about what they are doing wrong. Plenty of times Dee spoke down to her mother and little sister, Maggie.
Dee?s character in the story is a direct relation to any number of people in society that do not know or are confused about their heritage. She is struggling to create an identity for herself, and is confused as to what it encompasses. She grasps at African tradition and culture, yet fails to acknowledge her own African American culture. This happened all over America, particularly in the North, in the 1960?s, following the civil rights movement. Dee is misconstruing her heritage as material goods, as opposed to her ancestor?s habits and way of life. This may be due in part to her leaving her hometown and becoming an educated, sophisticated young woman. Dee?s direct heritage is that of African Americans.
Dee’s selfishness is also portrayed by her cultured verbal skills. Dee can talk her way through anything. Dee often manipulates others with her verbal skills. This is shown when she reads to her mother and sister “without pity; forcing words, lies, other folks’ habits, whole lives upon us, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice” (Walker 289). This statement further demonstrates the fact that Dee’s family feels inferior to her. Mama describes the situation as if Dee has some kind of power over her family because she is scholarly and her family is not. Dee uses her education to make Mama and Maggie feel less important without, necessarily meaning to.
Dee is a controlling person who always wanted everything to herself only and don't want anybody to take something more than her. And that appeared when mama said that the quilts which were handmade by their grandma Dee, that she would give it to Maggie, Dee was very angry for that and she wanted to take the quilts herself not because she wanted, just because she don't like anybody to take something more than her and wants everything for herself only. Dee was well educated and didn't liked her mother's and sister's way of living so she traveled and when
Dee on the other hand, represents more of a modern, complex, materialistic way of life. She moves to the city to become educated. She is ashamed of where she comes from. In a letter mama receives, Dee writes “no matter where we ‘choose’ to live, she will manage to come see us” (Walker 281). Furthermore, when she comes home to visit she tells mama that she has changed her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo because “I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me” (Walker 282).
Although the story "Everyday Use" is narrated from Mama's point of view, Alice Walker reveals Dee, Mama's eldest daughter, to be the central character. Dee remains essentially unchanged throughout the story. Even though Dee achieves her aim by overcoming complications such as poverty and racial discrimination, she is not admirable for her achievements and courage. Walker describes her to be selfish and self-centered, a woman who remains unchanged from her childhood to the current position after several years. The disregard for her sister's pain, ingratitude for the money raised for her education, and the desire for quilts indicates her static behavior.
Dee, from Walker’s “Everyday Use,” is Mama’s older daughter who not only has a judgmental, insensitive attitude towards Mama and her younger sister Maggie, but also believes she appreciates her family heritage more than Mama does, when in fact, Dee is the one who is “uneducated” and lacks an understanding about what her heritage truly is.
Alice Walker skillfully crafts the character of Dee Johnson in the short story "Everyday Use." From the first paragraph, Walker begins to weave the portrait of Dee, who at first seems shallow in many aspects. Dee becomes a more complex character, however, as the story unfolds. Blessed with both brains and good looks, Dee emerges as someone who is still struggling with her identity and heritage.
Dee had moved away to attend a college in Augusta. When she returned she found Mama and Maggie waiting. She was the only one from her family to attend college. Her decision to go to school caused her family and her to grow apart. She arrived with a boyfriend or husband. Her family could not tell which at first. She always wants to show she is strong. “She is determined to stare down any disaster in her efforts.” (Walker 76). She likes feeling strong and in charge. Dee had defined her own style and identity at an early age. “At sixteen she had a style of her own and knew what style was.” (Walker 74). Dee told her family that she decided to change her name. She stated that the reason for the rash decision was because, "I couldn't bear it any longer, being named after people who
Dee is portrayed as a light-skinned black person who feels as though she is better than everyone else because her waist is small, her skin is light, she has a nice grade of
Dee is the afro-centric, ego- centric and eccentric pseudo-intellect. She values her culture in a more materialistic aspect. She respects the artifacts of her history rather than the usefulness. Dee’s earthly-mindedness sets the stage for conflict throughout the entire story, from her arrival until the central conflict when there is a battle amongst the other two main characters Mama and Maggie, about who is truly entitled to the hand-stitched quilts. The quilts were works of art that have been passed down throughout
Dee however, always thought she was too proud to live with what her Mother provided for her. She still loved her Mother, no doubt, but she said things like "She wrote me once that no matter where we "choose" to live, she will manage to come see us" (415). Another way that Dee thought she was too proud for what her Mother provided for her was when she changed her name. She felt that it was too below her, and that it did not even deserve to be associated with a living person. After she tells her Mother her new name, and her Mother asked her what happened to her old one, she said that "She's dead I couldn't bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me" (416). With this statement, Dee sums up everything she thinks about her history and her Mother. She feels that the only way that she could change herself and her background is by changing her name, or killing her other