For Daily Use, Character Analysis of Dee

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Character Assessment of Dee In the short story “Everyday Use,” written by Alice Walker, Dee is a beautiful young woman who is returning to visit her mother and sister at their run-down country home. Although Dee is both attractive and knowledgeable, her character is extremely unlikeable. From the descriptions that her mother gives of Dee, and the conversations between Dee and her family, it is apparent that she is very critical of others. On top of this criticism, Dee also lacks compassion and empathy towards her mother and younger sister. By observing her relationship with her family, the reader can infer that behind her good looks and sense of style, Dee struggles with entitlement issues and insecurity. The first way that the reader is introduced to Dee’s character is by her mother’s descriptions. The mother first goes on to describe her daughter as outwardly confident and glamorous. She speaks of Dee having light skin, nice hair, a full figure, and her own unique sense of style. Her charisma and confidence is made clear when the mother states, “She would always look anyone in the eye. Hesitation was no part of her nature” (Walker 313). The mother also tells of Dee’s younger sister, Maggie, who has been scarred by a house fire. In the story, Walker writes that upon seeing her older sister, Maggie was “eyeing her with a mixture of awe and envy.” However, in addition to conjuring these descriptions of confidence and elegance, the mother also describes the darker aspects of Dee’s personality. Elements of criticism, judgment, and pettiness are all made apparent. The mother tells the readers that after returning from school as a young woman, Dee looked down upon her family for being uneducated and tried to force her viewpoints upon them. This is seen clearly when the mother states, “She used to read to us without pity; forcing words, lies, other folk’s habits,
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