How would you characterize Dee from the short story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dee (or Wangero) in this story is an annoying, stuck up, arrogant know it all who thinks she is too good for her family (later I might tell you what I really think about her...).

She has gone off from this rather poor home and has changed who she is.  Because she has been in college and has been exposed to all these new radical ideas, she thinks she is better than her mother and sister.  She thinks that they are backwards and that she is a modern person whose ideas are superior to those of her family.

Because she thinks this way, she only wants to tell her family how things should be -- she does not really want to interact with them as equals.

discussion | Student

One important quality of Dee is her lack of respect for her Mom and sister. She changes her given name, which is a slap in the face to her immediate family because that was a special name passed down to her. She also insults Maggie by trying to strip her of her quilts, saying, "She'd probably be backward enough to put them to everyday use." Ironically, Dee had previously rejected the quilts as old-fashioned. Her attempts to connect with her distant ancestry reeks of superficiality.