What was the mother's relationship with Dee like when Dee was at home?

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mattbuckley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The relationship between Dee and her mother seems to have always been estranged. The relationships that Dee had with everyone in the past seemed to be distanced. Dee did not fit or belong in this setting. The narrator comments about how she actually believed that Dee hated her own sister Maggie. At the beginning of the story, the narrator recalls her dream of meeting Dee on a television show; however, in the narrator looks the way Dee has always wanted her to look, "a hundred pounds lighter, [her] skin like an uncooked barley pancake. [Her] hair glistens in the hot bright lights." This fantasy shows that Dee has always wanted her mother to be something she is not. It signifies a dissatisfaction with her mother. The narrator also states that Dee "used to read to us without pity forcing words, lies, other folk's habits, whole lives, upon us two, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice." She continues to state that Dee would read to her and Maggie and then "Shove us away at just the moment, like dimwits, we seemed about to understand." This points to a superiority issue that Dee has with her mother and Maggie.