What is Dee's present attitude toward her mother and sister, and how does the narrator feel about Dee?

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Jessica Akcinar | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Mrs. Johnson feels very disconnected from and uncomfortable around her daughter, Dee. Although she admires Dee as beautiful, stylish, and poised, and sees her as the daughter "who has made it," she makes sure to point out her "faultfinding" and condescending ways. Mama is distrustful of Dee and believes that her superficial daughter was happy when their house burnt down. She sees Dee as cold and selfish. Mama is also a lot more sympathetic towards Maggie and demonstrates these feelings when she takes the quilts from Dee in order to give them to her less successful daughter.

Dee's attitude towards her family has gone from one of shame to one of false admiration. Dee was once embarrassed of her roots, her home, and her family. She now embraces what she believes is her heritage, ironically denying her real background. She changes her name from Dee, a family name, to Wangero, which she believes is more African. She also does not understand the importance of the items her mother and sister still use, but rather sees them as artifacts and believes Maggie to be "backwards" for wanting to use them. Through her words and actions, she demonstrates just how disconnected and out-of-touch she really is when it comes to her family.

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