In the story "Everyday Use," how is Dee's past hatred of the old house also reflected her present actions?


Everyday Use

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jess-akcinar's profile pic

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Indeed, Dee hates everything about her old life, including the old house. The family’s first house was destroyed in a fire when the girls were younger, and Dee’s sister, Maggie, was slightly disfigured and severely self-conscious. The mother's recollection of the evening the old home burned explains her daughters personalities: Maggie was left "with her hair smoking and her dress falling off her in little peppery flakes" and Dee was "standing off under the sweet gum tree...[with] a look of concentration on her face as she watched the last dingy gray board of the house fall in toward the red-hot chimney.'' Maggie is left scarred and introverted, and Dee stares at the thing with an intent look of hatred. She didn't seem care about the house or any of its contents. In all actuality, she loathed the house and may be the one to have set fire to it in order to rid herself of it.

jess-akcinar's profile pic

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Continuation of first response:

Currently, Dee continues to feel hatred towards her past. For example, she changes her name from Dee, a family name, to Wangero, a name she feels is closer to her "roots." However, her mother understands that, although Dee has come back to collect old family heirlooms, she has no idea what her culture is really about. She is actually turning her back on her real heritage, which demonstrates her hatred. Her name change can even be seen as a sort of destruction of her old identity and can parallel the destruciton of her old home.

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