In the story "Everyday Use", there are three main characters Mrs. Johnson, the narrator, Maggie, the narrator's youngest daughter, and Dee, the narrator's oldest daughter. As the reader begins to read the story, the narrator describes Maggie's emotions towards Dee's visit home to prepare the reader for Dee's realization. Dee realizes that her mother has promised the quilts to the youngest daughter Maggie; even though, the quilts were offered to Dee before she went off to school. Maggie and Dee have much envy and awe towards each other for many reasons, beginning with Dee letting Maggie nearly die in a house fire to Dee trying to take away the quilts promised to Maggie. .
At the beginning of the story, the narrator discusses Maggie's nervousness for her sister's visit and the reasons for her feeling homely and ashamed of herself. The narrator says, will be nervous until after her sister goes; she will stand hopelessly in the corners, homely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs, eyeing her sister with a mixture of envy and awe."(6) During the house fire, Dee stood underneath the gum tree watching the house burn to the ground not attempting to rescue her mother or Maggie, while her mom rescued Maggie. After the house fire, Mama believed that Dee hated Maggie as much as she hated the house until Mama and the community raised enough money to send Dee to Augusta for school. Mama did not receive much of an education herself because after second grade was shut down due to the racial issues in 1927. Dee left for school shortly after the fire; therefore, it has been almost a decade since Maggie and Mama have seen Dee.
When Dee arrives at the house, Maggie tries to run into the house, but Mama does not let her leave. As Dee gets out of the car, Mama notices she brought a strange man with her does not feel comfortable with the idea. Mama immediately began to just Dee the second she emerged from the car.