How Are Dee and Maggie the Same and Different in “Everyday Use?”

Dee and Maggie in “Everyday Use” are similar in that they both love their mother and strongly desire the quilts that their mother, aunt and grandmother have made. The characters have few other similarities, as Dee is confident, attractive, arrogant and intelligent, while her younger sister Maggie is shy, unattractive, humble and unintelligent.

Dee and Maggie are foils of each other, so their personalities contrast heavily. The narrator points out Dee’s confidence, specifically how she has always been able to look people in the eyes. Maggie, on the other hand, is reserved and nervous around people, including her sister. While Dee has always been attractive and stylish, Maggie has not.

Part of the reason for Maggie’s unattractiveness and shyness stems from a fire that burned her as a child and left her with scars. However, the narrator mentions that good looks and intelligence passed Maggie by, indicating that she never had either of those qualities.

Their actions and words demonstrate that both characters love their mother, although Dee is also judgmental of her. Dee and Maggie both want their mother’s quilts, but for different reasons. Dee wants them for superficial reasons, as she plans to use them for decoration. Maggie plans to actually use them.

Their attitudes regarding the quilts and other family keepsakes illustrate another difference between the sisters. Dee wants these keepsakes to show off her African heritage but actually knows little about that heritage. Maggie knows about her heritage but doesn’t care about showing off.