Why doesn't Dee want Maggie to have the quilts?

In "Everyday Use," Dee doesn't want Maggie to have the quilts because she wants them to herself and because she does not feel that they should be put to "everyday use" for warmth and comfort the way she knows Maggie will use them.

Expert Answers

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Dee does not want Maggie to have the quilts for several reasons. Dee wants to take them back to her home, where they will become decorative items, like the churn she takes from her mother's house, which is to become a centerpiece for her alcove table. Dee takes the time to look over everything in her mother and sister's home with a view of how it could enhance her sophisticated far-away home. She makes it clear that while she doesn't yet know what she will do with the dasher, she'll think of an artistic way to showcase it in her home.

However, when Dee asks if she can have the quilts, her mother puts her foot down, telling her that she has promised these to Maggie. Dee, now known as Wangero, argues with her mother, telling her that her sister wouldn't appreciate the quilts. Dee wishes to hang them up to display them like museum pieces, and in her mind, the quilts should be used as such. She knows and resents the fact that Maggie would use these items in "everyday use" for warmth and comfort.

While Maggie acquiesces to her sister taking the quilts, her mother, remembering the derision with which Dee had previously looked on the quilts before she saw them as valuable for decoration, refuses and reaffirms that Maggie is to have the precious family quilts.

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