What is suggested by Dee’s kissing her mother on the forehead in "Everyday Use"?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I disagree completely with the previous post. Dee's kissing her mother on the forehead is not an act of love. It is an act of condescension. Adults kiss children on the forehead, standing in a position of power and authority. An act of love would have been to throw her arms around her mother and kiss her on the cheek.

Of course Dee doesn't express any sign of hatred for the current house. She doesn't have to live there. She is a fancy lady now. She doesn't have to live in a dirt-floor shack with tarpaper window coverings. She is educated and lives in the city. Her mother and sister are almost strangers to her, as quaint as the churn and quilts and other things Dee wants to take home with her.

Dee has always considered herself better than her mother and sister, and her actions upon returning home make that clear. Why change her name? Why dress differently? Why ask for things to take home, not as mementoes or keepsakes, but as signs of how enlightened she has become?

Dee is not a good person, and her kiss in not a token of affection.


lit24 | Student

"Then she puts the Polaroid in the back seat of the car, and comes up and kisses me on the forehead."

Dee is meeting her mother after a long interval  and kissing her mother is perhaps her special way of bonding with her and making up to her for neglecting her all these years. Dee certainly loves her mother and wants to take back with her as many photos of her mother when she returns. She kisses her mother after the photos have been taken to thank her for allowing her to photograph her with her sister Maggie and the house.

Most significantly,  it is also her way of seeking forgiveness for burning down the previous house: "she had hated the house that much;"  and this time also her mother thinks:"no doubt when Dee sees it she will want to tear it down." But now when she takes photographs the mother remarks:"she never takes a shot without making sure the house is included." Dee does not express any sign of hatred for the present house in which her mother and sister live on the contrary she wishes to preserve the memory of this house in the photos she will take back with her.

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Everyday Use

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