In the story “Everyday Use”, a woman who is referred to as Mama and her daughter Maggie awaits the return of her other daughter, Dee. Although the setting is not known, it can be assumed that it is taking place in rural Georgia in the mid 1900’s. The family is described as being poor, as was common for many people in this time period. During the story the narrator, Mama, has an epiphany. An epiphany is a sudden realization or a moment of clarity. This occurs when Dee looks down upon her family for the way they were living and attempts to highlight the struggle of African Americans by a family heirloom.
The short story starts out in the yard of the house which is described as an extension of the house. Mama is with her daughter Maggie waiting for Dee to return home. She likens it to reunions that are on TV, although it is nothing of the sort. Maggie is described as simple minded and not pretty, and is compared to “a dog run over by some careless person rich enough to own a car” (9). Mama is big-boned and heavy, portraying more manly features than feminine features. Dee was different from the others around her. She was smart, stylish, and was seldom told no. She was the opposite of Maggie. Dee was sent to school in Augusta due to great sacrifices made by Mama and used her education almost as a weapon, reading to her family against their will. Dee arrives in a car with extremely bright and fashionable dress with a man by the name of Hakim-a-barber. Maggie tries to flee, but is held in place by Mama. Dee has changed her name to Wangero because she does not like the family name of Dee, perhaps because she feels that it was forced on her family by slave owners. This is evident when she says "I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me." (27)
Mama is weary of her daughter’s sudden re-entrance to her life. Wangero takes several pictures of her mother and sister with the house and then the party proceeds inside. They sit...