Mama and Dee are both strong-willed and determined; Mama's determination is reflected in how she meets the challenges in her life headlong. On her own, she can kill and butcher a hog, endure freezing weather outdoors, and kill a bull calf and hang it to preserve its meat. She perseveres...
after a fire claims her home and scars her other daughter, and she works to raise money to educate Dee in the city. She raises two daughters on her own. She is indomitable.
Dee is also strong-willed and determined; however, her determination is expressed differently than her mother's. In fact, her mother describes Dee as "determined to stare down any disaster in her efforts." Dee is determined to reinvent herself. She adopts an African name, telling her mother that she didn't want to be "named after the people who oppress me."
Inevitably, these two strong-willed women clash. Dee wants to take some family heirlooms, including handmade quilts, as cultural artifacts to be displayed. This offends her mother, who gives the quilts to Dee's younger sister, Maggie, who will put them to "everyday use."