Dee in “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker

In “Everyday Use” by Walker Dee is no longer the traditional hero but instead she is the type of person who wants the best for herself. She demands the best for herself and for other people. Dee may seem like a hard and difficult character to get along with, she probably was, because of her high standards she put on people. But she did that only to look out for herself and not to settle for less.

Dee has always shown that she is ashamed of her family. Her family is very different from her; she believes that they are “old-fashioned” because all their furniture is not up with the times. They used benches made by her father instead of chairs. When Dee went away for college, she always wrote home saying she would visit, but that she would never bring her friends home with her. She did not want them to know how she and her family still live. She forever scrutinized her family and the way they were. She has high demands for other people and this often drove them away from her, including her first boyfriend. He “flew to marry a cheap city girl from a family of ignorant flashy people” (73) after she had shifted all of her “faultfinding power on him” (73). She analyzes everything he does and says and that drives him! Into the arms of another woman. This action of his hurts Dee badly, but she hides her feelings inside. Dee feels that her family is way behind her. She is scornful of her family’s way of life, their house, and possessions. Her attitude is picked up as “arrogance” but it is just the way she is. She is a woman who wants the very best for herself and her family. There is no harm in that, and Dee knows that it is okay to want the best. She just wants her family to be on the same page as she is. Going to college has totally changed her mind, she wants her family to step into the future and be a part of the world as it is. As she leaves home, she tells her sister Maggie that “it’s really a new day for us. But from the way you and Mama still live you’d never know it” (76).

Dee is following a cultural trend of going back to your roots and your family history. She wants these old items to satisfy the trend, not her own understanding of her family. Dee is “fake”, one minute she hates the family “heirlooms”, the next she wants everything to do with it because it is the latest trend. She has no appreciation for anything once it is there right in front of her. Her problem was not accepting people for who they were despite their faults. Another problem she had she did not understand her family history; she went by what people said not by what was out there, the truth. By not finding out the truth she was subject to listen to whatever came her way. Once again, you cannot blame her for who she is, but one can encourage her to become a better person. …