Describe as fully as possible the lives of the mother, Dee, and Maggie prior to the events of the story, "Everyday Use." How are the following incidents from the past also reflected in...

Describe as fully as possible the lives of the mother, Dee, and Maggie prior to the events of the story, "Everyday Use."

How are the following incidents from the past also reflected in the present actions: ( a) Dee’s hatred of the old house; (b) Dee’s ability “to stare down any disaster”; ( c) Maggie’s burns from the fire; (d) the mother’s having been “hooked in the side” while milking a cow; (e) Dee’s refusal to accept a quilt when she went away to college?

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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From the very beginning, Maggie and Momma are people who take what life gives them and makes the best of it.  They live simply and happily--they may not have everything they want, but they have everything they need.

Dee, however, is miserable with her life.  She loathes the house, her momma, her sister, her life.  As a result, it is implied that the house burns and Dee may have had something to do with it.  She gets what she wants regardless of the cost to others, and she never truly shows any remorse about the burns Maggie suffers while trying to save items from the house.  What is important to her is that the house she hated is now gone...and she smiles as she watches it burn.

Dee has always been full of herself, loud, spoiled, and self-important.  Her mother and sister are quieter, more reserved, and appreciative. They are not defeated, but they have taken their knocks. Maggie becomes even more reclusive after she is burned, and she seems resentful of Dee whom she describes as someone "the world never says 'No' to". 

Dee leaves as soon as she is able...not looking back, and not taking anything with her...even the quilts and "heritage" that she decides to come back and claim in the story.

Momma finally finds her gusto when she stops giving in to Dee and speaks up for Maggie who never speaks up for herself in more than a slamming door.

Sources:

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