Everyday Use: Dee

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“To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.” –Benjamin Franklin
Alice Walker was a popular writer that wrote the short story Everyday Use. She also wrote a more popular book called The Color Purple. Walker’s main focus in various books is African American women and their lives (Lewis). She uses this theme in her short story Everyday Use. Walker vividly describes the character, Dee, as a witty young woman that is unappreciative of her heritage. Walker conveys Dee by her appearance, attitude, and knowledge which portray the character as demanding and self-centered.

Dee’s bold style in “Everyday Use” illustrates the point that Dee wants to be superior to the others in her culture. The author includes that Dee often made various outfits for events in high school. Walker states, “Dee wanted nice things.” Walker suggests that Dee thought she was predominant to the other characters. Later in the story, the author focuses on when Dee arrives to visit her mother. Dee wore a loud yellow and orange dress, dangling bracelets, and long earrings. Her style has even further developed since she has been away at college. Dee’s style is mainly to impress which implies that she is avoiding the simplicity of her heritage.

Dee had trouble accepting her heritage throughout her life. The author even includes that she hated the home that her family lived in. After their first home burned to the ground, Dee’s mother thinks, “Why don’t you do a dance around the ashes? She had hated the house that much.” Dee did not appreciate the material items or even necessities that she had. Later in the story she is intent on her mother giving her a quilt to hang in her new home. Dee’s mother contests and says that the quilts were meant for the younger sister Maggie. “Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts.” This comment was made from Dee after her mother refused to let her have the quilts. Dee did not understand that her mother wanted the quilts to be used every day as...
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