Fight Vs. Flight: A Re-Evaluation Of Dee In Susan Farrell's Everyday Use

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Everyday Use is the story of a mother and her relationship with her two conflicting daughters. The story begins as Maggie and mother wait anxiously for Dee 's arrival. This is Dee’s first visit to the new house and both mother and Maggie are extremely nervous as they anticipate Dee’s criticism of the house and their lifestyle. Dee and her boyfriend, Hakim-a-barber, soon arrive. Upon the ending of the awkward reunion, everyone gathers in the house for a meal. During the meal, Dee continuously picks out heirlooms around the house and asks mother if she can have them. Fearing the backlash, mother agrees until Dee asks to take two handmade quilts that have been promised to Maggie. Dee stands furious as her mother refuses to give her the quilts …show more content…
Farrell 's work entitled “Fight vs. Flight: A Re-evaluation of Dee in Alice Walker 's Everyday Use”. Argues that the narration of Mother creates a biased and untrue look at the character of Dee. Farrell credits this bias to Mothers own jealousy of Dee. While mother is envious of Dee’s fighting spirit and confidence, she is extremely comfortable with Maggie 's passive and timid attitude. Due to this, mother casts a negative light on Dee that makes her positive qualities seem manipulative and arrogant. In the same way, due to her comfort with Maggie, mother praises Maggie 's attitude and her appreciation of her heritage. Farrell also provides a breakdown of the characters connections to heritage. She critiques that each character take a different look at their heritage due to their own experiences. While Dee views her heritage as oppressive and obsolete to her daily life, mother and Maggie maintain a close tie to their heritage and view it as strong evidence of their ancestors strength.Farrell correlates these conflicting opinion to each character 's lack of education in some area. While Dee is unaware of the family ties to her heritage, mother and Maggie appear ignorant of the oppressive nature of their families …show more content…
Mother is the sole narrator and the audience only receives insight into her own thoughts and feelings. Through this, the audience gains only biased information on the other characters. The general consensus among readers is that Dee is manipulative and venomous while Maggie is timid and passive. However, this consensus is largely affected by the perspective that Mother has on the two characters. From the beginning the audience is able to see Mothers fear of Dee. As she waits for Dee 's arrival she dreams of a reunion in which she would be everything Dee would want her to be. In this reunion Mother is lightskin, small, and witty. While this is what mother believes Dee would want, the audience never receives Dees actual opinion. In many way the audience can see Mothers own fear illustrated in Maggie. While Mother maintains a calm demeanor, internally she is anxious as she seeks validation from Dee. In contrast, Maggie is obviously upset. She shuffles around awkwardly as if awaiting the arrival of a grand goddess. Through the actions and thoughts of Mother the audience gains an extremely flawed picture of Dee. Because Mother is extremely self-conscious around Dee she indirectly perceives many of Dee qualities in a negative light. Dee’s ambition is perceived as “demanding” and when Dee tries to use her education to help Maggie it

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