Everyday Use Questions and Answers
by Alice Walker

Everyday Use book cover
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Describe how Dee reacts to the house fire? What do we learn about her from this passage?

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"Everyday Use" shows Dee as a somewhat pretentious, condescending woman. She is very unlike her mother and sister, and she is treated as an outsider by her family for the choices she makes in life. When the house fire occurs, Dee seems to be unfazed or even happy to see the house engulfed in flames. The house represented a life that Dee wanted to leave behind. We learn from her reaction to the house fire that she is not like her mother or sister, who are both devastated at the loss, and we learn that she does not wish to live the simple life she had been living up until the fire changed her fate. It is as if the fire has released Dee from an invisible prison, and now she can choose how to live her life as a woman of color. Dee changes after the house fire by breaking free from the constraints of her family's expectations. She goes on to seek higher education, which her mother both fears and resents. She begins to dress differently and even changes her name.

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