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The interplay of all the women in this story points to what is defined as "a strong woman." Is Dee, as she believes, the most independent and superior woman because she has rejected anything connected to those "people who have oppressed me"? Or, are those women who use the quilt for everyday use really the more knowledgeable and assertive?
No doubt, Dee learned to be strong from her mother. She is her mother's daughter. Also, education plays an important role in determining who we are. Dee is also an African American. She is proud of her ancestry. The mother in the story is proud of her ancestry. She is a strong, Southern woman. The story is one that expresses the strong connection of heritage. Maggie is strong when she stands behind her strong mother. She won the quilts. Dee did not get her way in everything. Maggie smiled a real smile.
You can also make an interesting link between ethnicity and femininity through the way that Dee in particular chooses to define herself by her ancestral African background and suddenly renames herself and cements that change in her character through a change of dress and name. Femininity has so much to do with identity and who we present ourselves to be. This adds another interesting strand to the theme of femininity in this brilliant story.
One interesting aspect of this story, from a feminist perspective, is that it presents conflict between women, and it locates the source of that conflict in tensions involving social class. Dee sees herself as representing a higher social class than her mother and Maggie, and in a sense she is right. The story may be relevant to class tensions within the feminist movement itself.
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