What do the 4th and 5th paragraphs of "Everyday Use" disclose about the narrator?  (please use quotes from the text to help support your answer)

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In the fourth paragraph, the narrator notes that she entertains dreams of being more glamorous than she actually is. She has dreams that her daughter, Dee, and she are reunited in typical Hollywood dramatic fashion complete with tears and reciprocal affection. In this dream, the narrator is beautiful and witty. In the fifth paragraph, the narrator describes herself as she actually is: 

In real life, I am a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands. In the winter I wear flannel nightgowns to bed and overalls during the day. 

The narrator closes this paragraph with a return to how she appears in that Hollywood dream: 

I am the way my daughter would want me to be: a hundred pounds lighter, my skin like an uncooked barely pancake. My hair glistens in the hot bright lights. Johnny Carson has much to do to keep up with my quick and witty tongue. 

Here, we see a shift in that this dream is more Dee's than her mother's (the narrator's). This is how Dee would want her mother to appear. This establishes a clear distinction (made even clearer as the story progresses) between Dee's life and the life Maggie and her mother lead at the homestead. Dee is much more attractive (according to cultural/Hollywood standards) and Maggie is shy and covered in scars. Dee is more interested in appearances while Maggie and her mother are more interested in practicality and genuine family values. This becomes more apparent when Dee wants the quilt for display and her mother would rather it be put to good ("everyday") use. This example of the quilt is analogous to the narrator's dual views of herself: that lighter, more attractive, witty mother of the Hollywood dream - all about appearance - and the real mother, one equipped for genuine and practical use. The mother is not the celebrity trading barbs with Johnny Carson; she is like the quilt made for everyday use. As she says in the fifth paragraph, she prides herself on this: 

I can kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man. My fat keeps me hot in zero weather. 

While the narrator might daydream of living up to Dee's standards, she realizes that such a notion is superficial. She is comfortable being with Maggie and living a life of everyday usefulness. 

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