In “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker
In “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, Dee is shown as a very confident young lady who feels as if she is the smartest and most superior member in her family. Because she feels so much smarter and superior than her family, she feels ashamed of her family members and in response, attempts to cut herself out of her family. Dee cuts herself out of her family by first, completely changing her name so she does not have to carry her family name with her all the time. When her mother asks, “What happened to Dee?”(290), Dee responds by saying, “She’s dead” (290). When Dee says that, she states that she is now a completely new person and her old self is gone. This supports the fact that Dee wants to start a brand-new life without her family. Not only does Dee change her name, but she also changes her appearance too. She changes her hair style and the way she dresses, which encourages the fact that the old Dee is dead. On top of this, Dee also takes pictures of her mother and Maggie in front of the house, but she never includes herself in these supposedly family photos. This shows that Dee must not consider herself as part of her family. The third fact that shows that Dee wants to exclude herself from her family, is that she never tells her family what has been going on in her life. For example, she never tells her mother who Hakim-a-barber is. For all her mother knows, he could either be Dee’s husband, fiancé, boyfriend, or friend. Another sign that shows that Dee thinks of herself as higher than her family members is when she tries to take two quilts from her mother’s house. Her mother says that she cannot have them because they are supposed to go to Maggie when she gets married. Instead of choosing two other quilts, she argues with her mother and says that “Maggie can’t appreciate these quilts” (293). When Dee says that, she shows her true feelings about her little sister and how she thinks of her. Her words show that Dee thinks that she has more cultural awareness than Maggie because she thinks that she knows how to appreciate the quilts while Maggie does not. Also, Dee believes that Maggie will always be beneath her and is not worthy of the quilts. In “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker, Dee feels ashamed of her family because she believes that they are not as smart or culturally aware as she is and in response, tries to cut herself out of her family.