Mama is a dynamic character, and because of the change in her, Maggie undergoes a significant change, as well. At the end of the story, Mama sees and understands both of her daughters clearly. She recognizes Dee for the selfish, hateful person she is, and she recognizes the depth of Maggie's loving nature, despite the suffering she has endured in her young life. Mama also understands clearly that Maggie has spent her entire life deferring to her smarter, more attractive, and quite aggressive sister:
When I looked at [Maggie] like that something hit me in the top of my head and ran down to the soles of my feet. Just like when I'm in church and the spirit of God touches me and I get happy and shout. I did some.thing I never done before: hugged Maggie to me, then dragged her on into the room, snatched the quilts out of Miss Wangero's [Dee's] hands and dumped them into Maggie's lap. Maggie just sat there on my bed with her mouth open.
Mama's choosing Maggie's feelings over Dee's represents an important change in her character. Maggie responds to this act of love, the recognition of her own value in her mother's eyes, by smiling "a real smile."