from eveyday use by alice walker
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Dee saw herself in a different light than her mother or sister. She wanted to have more.... to be more. She sought out an education and nice things, the things she demanded before leaving home..... things her mother did whatever she could to give her.
As a girl, Dee hated her house, acted like she hated her family, and was visibly discontented. Once the church raised enough money to send her to school.... that all changed. She took on the role of educator and tried to teach her mother and sister things they had no desire to understand.
I used to think she hated Maggie, too. But that was before we raised money, the church and me, to send her to Augusta to school. She used to read to us without pity; forcing words, lies, other folks' habits, whole lives upon us two, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice. She washed us in a river of make.believe, burned us with a lot of knowl edge we didn't necessarily need to know. Pressed us to her with the serf' ous way she read, to shove us away at just the moment, like dimwits, we seemed about to understand.
Dee wanted nice things. A yellow organdy dress to wear to her grad.uation from high school; black pumps to match a green suit she'd made from an old suit somebody gave me. She was determined to stare down any disaster in her efforts. Her eyelids would not flicker for minutes at a time. Often I fought off the temptation to shake her. At sixteen she had a style of her own: and knew what style was.