In short stories, authors can explain a character to us very easily by creating a contrasting character, known in the literary world as a foil. In her 1973 work, "Everyday Use", Alice Walker gives us the character of Maggie to contrast with the more important reader-emotion rising Dee. Throughout the story, the two sisters are constantly compared, mainly for their attitude towards heritage, which is the main issue at hand. Maggie and Dee are also contrasted with their general physical appearance, which is quickly made known in the opening of the story. .
In the time that this story was written, America was experiencing an African American heritage uprising. During this time, black and proud was the general thinking of those in that particular cultural group. The author uses this to her writing advantage to create a character that has recently taken a strong interest in her African-American heritage. Her character, originally Dee, now wishes to be known as Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo, because she did not want to be named similarly to any member of the Caucasian people who had enslaved her ancestors. (68). Wangero also has a counterpart, a friend who is there visiting the place where Dee grew up. Hakim-a-barbar does not hold much significance as far as the story goes, but he does support evidence that Dee, or Wangero, has obviously met people while in school that have influenced her to act as she now does. It is in these ways that the author introduces Dee's character once she arrives .
to the land where she and her family grew up. After the initial arrival of Dee and her traveling friend, the reader is subjected to numerous examples of Dee's shallow mentality .
towards her family's heritage. Regarding a handmade kitchen implement, Dee actually intends upon using it as "a centerpiece for the alcove table" and making use of the implements handle for "something artistic" (69).