At the beginning of "Everyday Use", what contrasts are depicted between the two sisters?it is in beggining of the story

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story, like Walker's novel The Color Purple, draws from the Cinderella myth.

Maggie is like Cinderella in terms of status, not looks.  She is homely, physically slow, none too bright, and physically scarred (from the house fire).  Her mother knows that she will have a hard time marrying, but she knows just who it will be.  Maggie feels undeserving of her mother's attention and heirlooms.  Next to her sister, she cowers like an ugly duckling.  In the end, when her mother (the fairy godmother) gives her the quilt and heirlooms of the house, she subtely is transformed into a kind of matriarch (one who carries on the important domestic roles).

Dee / Wangero is like one of Cinderlla's stepsisters.  She is all that Maggie is not: mobile, attractive, educated, confident.  She mistreats her sister by making her feel inferior and worthless.  She feels her birthright gives her a sense of entitlement to the quilt and heirlooms, but instead of using them for their everyday intended uses, she wants to transform them into artifacts of the past, using her heritage as "cultural capital."  By changing her name, wearing "borrowed robes," and matriculating to the fad movement of black nationalism, she has forsaken her identity, her culture, her family.

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Everyday Use

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