Everyday Use

How are the sisters maggie and Dee different from each other?


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The below quote is Mama’s first introduction of Maggie to the reader. Maggie is defined in a less than complimentary way to the reader. Maggie's identity as unattractive and slow-witted yet lovable is largely born out of a juxtaposition to Mama's perception of Dee as an attractive but callous super-achiever. This duality suggests the contrast between the old and new generation of African-American women in the late 1960's.

“[Maggie] will stand hopelessly in corners homely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs, eyeing her sister with a mixture of envy and awe. She thinks her sister has held life always in the palm of one hand, that ‘no’ is a word the world never learned to say to her.”