What conflict exists between Maggie and Dee even before Dee arrives?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It seems that Dee and Maggie have never been close; they really have very little in common.  Maggie feels that Dee has always gotten whatever she wants, and Dee really has no respect for Maggie and her way of life (with their mother).  Dee has always been embarrassed by their home, and Maggie finds comfort there.  Anticipating Dee's visit, Mama says that Maggie will spend the time "eyeing her sister with a mixture of envy and awe.  She thinks her sister has held life always in the palm of one hand, that 'no' is a word the world never learned to say to her."  Dee has always gotten whatever she wanted: their first house, that she hated, burned down; she got to go away to school; she got fancy clothes and shoes, and so on.  Maggie also remembers the way Dee used to treat her and Mama when she lived at home, or when she would visit, and she is clearly made nervous by the prospect of seeing her sister again.  Dee barely even seems to acknowledge her sister's presence, and she seems to think that her education and intellect make her better than Maggie and her mother.  This conflict has existed ever since Dee used to "burn [them] with knowledge" as a child. 

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