By the end of "Everyday Use," Maggie is the sister who gains the most emotionally and symbolically.
In order to see which sister gains the most by the end of the story, it is important to note their starting points. Maggie is shy and introverted. Mrs. Johnson's initial descriptions of Maggie reflect her withdrawn condition:
Have you ever seen a lame animal, perhaps a dog run over by some careless person rich enough to own a car, sidle up to someone who is ignorant enough to be kind to him? That is the way my Maggie walks. She has been like this, chin on chest, eyes on ground, feet in shuffle, ever since the fire that burned the other house to the ground.
Maggie is wounded, both symbolically and emotionally. This is in stark contrast to Dee, who is "pretty" and described as always wanting "nice things." The contrast between both sisters is clearly displayed when Mrs. Johnson describes their reaction to their house burning down. Maggie was scarred emotionally and physically, while Dee stood at a distance with a "concentrated" look on her face because of disdain for the house. Dee has moved from this even, finding other people and establishing herself, while Maggie has remained with her mother.
When Dee visits, her desire for the quilts forces the choice that Mrs. Johnson has to make. It is also where we see Maggie gain the most. Mrs. Johnson chooses to give the quilts to Maggie because she would put them to "everyday use." When Dee protests, Mrs. Johnson offers a profound endorsement of Maggie: "I reckon she would,' I said. 'God knows I been saving 'em for long enough with nobody using 'em. I hope she will!" As a result, Maggie has gained the most because her loyalty has been validated. In Mrs. Johnson's decision, Maggie has gained emotionally because it shows how she has gained her mother's support. This validation is also symbolic because it recognizes the value of Maggie being loyal to her familial identity, a quality that Dee has not shown.