Characterize the......Q1) Characterize the speaker and evaluate her reliability as a reporter and interpreter of events. Where does she refrain from making judgements? Where does she present less...

Characterize the......

Q1) Characterize the speaker and evaluate her reliability as a reporter and interpreter of events. Where does she refrain from making judgements? Where does she present less than the full truth? Do these examples of reticence undercut her reliability?

Q2) Does the mother refusal to let Dee have the quilts indicate a permanent or temporary change of character? Why has she never done anything like it before? Why does she do it now? What details in the story prepare for and foreshadow that refusal?

Q3) Is Dee wholly unsympathetic? Is the mother’s victory over her altogether positive? What emotional ambivalence is there in the final scene between Maggie and her mother in the yard

Asked on by hannahmon

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

All of your questions are very interesting, but I'm afraid we can only address one at a time in our responses. I will begin with the first.

It is an old adage that mothers often offer more nuture and care to her children that need it most, and such might be the case with the narrator in "Everyday Use."  The narrator's sympathy for Maggie can be seen when she tells us about the fire that maimed Maggie, for then she wanted to ask Dee "Why don't you do a dance around the ashes?" Even early on, the narrator resented Dee for her beauty, her aloofness, her desire to break out of the poverty. This narrator is "a large, big-boned woman," very different from her gorgeous daughter, and might have often wondered how they could even be related. Surely, too, the narrator must have resented Dee "hating the house that much," when that house was all the narrator, as mother and provider, could give her daughters. The camaraderie experienced by Maggie and the narrator at the end certainly excludes Dee, almost gleefully, forgetting that Dee might in fact be hurt by all of this. The mother does not try to teach Dee; she wants to protect Maggie, for there she finds someone similar to herself.

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