Character Analysis of Dee in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use”

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The character of “Dee” in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” comes across

as being very shallow, selfish and arrogant from the very beginning of the

story. As the story progresses though, Dee does become more complex and

is shown to be struggling with her own identity and heritage. Concrete

details are stated about Dee that lead you to know she is beautiful, smart and

confident. Dee is described as slender with a small waste. She is a light

skinned black person with a nice grade of hair. She is also somewhat

educated. Dee is fashion conscience, always wanting nicer things that were

not affordable to her family.

In the beginning of the story, Dee’s mother and sister, Maggie are

preparing for Dee’s arrival for a visit. Here is where you get the first

glimpse of Dee’s apparent personality. Maggie is described by her mother

as being nervous until after Dee goes when Dee hasn’t even arrived yet.

This leads you to believe that perhaps Maggie is intimidated by Dee and

perhaps feels inferior to Dee. Dee’s mother talks about dreaming a dream

about being greeted by Dee with an embrace and tears in her eyes. In real

life Dee’s mother and sister don’t seem to feel as though they quite measure

up to what Dee expects or wants them to be.

Dee’s mother never had much of an education but the church and Dee’s

mom raised enough money to send Dee off to school. Maggie is mentioned

as having poor sight and not being very bright. Dee on the other hand is

smart. Dee would come home and read to them and attempt to dump a lot of

knowledge on them that they didn’t necessarily need to know and would

likely never use. This is just one of the first examples of Dee’s s selfishness.

When Dee arrives home, she has brought a man with her. She introduces

him to her family and announces she has changed her name to a Swahili

name, claiming she could not stand being named...
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