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Character of Dee in Everyday Use

In the story "Everyday Use," by Alice Walker, the character Dee is the type of person who rushes into the future of her wants and desires and who will only acknowledge a glamorized past. This paper will analyze the character of Dee and demonstrate how she has railroaded into the future without accepting the present family that is before her.

The reader is first introduced to Dee through the eyes of the narrator, her mother, who sees Dee as someone who has always been single-minded in achieving her goals, from leaving home to obtaining the nice things that she wanted. Dee's mother describes her as someone who "would always look anyone in the eye" (29). She was determined to be better, to move on from her present circumstances, which she hated, to her preconceived notion of what was better. As her mother points out when she wants nice clothes for example, "[s]he was determined to stare down any disaster in her efforts" to get a yellow organdy dress or a pair of black pumps (30). This determination shows how Dee is not content with her life the way it is and how much she wants to leave it behind for something better.

Besides being determined, however, Dee is also portrayed as critical of those around her unless they can live up to her exacting standards. For example, the mother describes how Dee "hated the house" so much that she just stared in deep concentration as it burned down, while her mother struggles to save Maggie, the younger sister (29). The new house is just like the old one, a small, three-room shack, and Dee's mother thinks that "[n]o doubt when Dee sees it she will want to tear it down" (30). Dee has already indicated her dislike of her mother and her sister's living arrangements by saying she will go visit them wherever they "choose" to live (30). In making this statement Dee seems to not acknowledge or be grateful for all the hard work and hardship her family and community went through simply to get one pe...

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Character of Dee in Everyday Use. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:29, May 25, 2020, from