The reader can see similarities in the lives of Walker and both daughters in the story. Like Maggie, Alice Walker was disfigured as a child and was blinded in one eye. Because of this, she withdrew from society much like Maggie does because of her burns. Then there is Dee, the older sister who goes off to college and makes a new life for herself--away from the struggling lifestyle of living in a run-down shack in a racially segregated community.
Of the two sisters, the more practical is Maggie. She wants the heirloom to use every day for practical reasons. Dee just wants it so she can show it off like art. This makes Dee superficial and false while making Maggie appear realistic and genuine. In the end, the mother makes the right choice.
The two sisters in "Everyday Use" are vastly different. Dee "Wangero" is a modern girl who has gotten an education, left home, explored her African roots, and come back home after the death of her grandmother. Maggie, on the other hand, is a simple girl who has lived at home with her mother happily, not really yearning for more outside of her life of small-town simplicity. Rather than exploring her African heritage, Maggie sees the importance of her own African American Southern heritage. Maggie is an unattractive girl, much like Alice Walker, the author, was disfigured in an accident as a child. She was quiet and shy, and focused on her writing. Walked is also similar to the character Dee, though, in that she went to college on scholarship and left her town. It is arguable which character draws more parallels to the author's life, but I personally believe that due to the message of the story, that family loyalty and value of one's personal heritage can be valued over academia in some cases, Walker must relate more to Maggie.