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Word Count: 1,439
The Story Everyday Use is narrated by a woman who describes herself as a large big-boned woman with rough man-working hands She has enjoyed a rugged farming life in the country and now lives in a small tin-roofed house surrounded by a clay yard in the middle of a cow pasture She anticipates that soon her daughter Maggie will be married and she will be living peacefully alone The story opens as the two women await a visit from the older daughter Dee and a man who may be her husband--her mother is not sure whether they are actually married Dee who was always scornful of her familys way of life has gone to college and now seems almost as distant as a film star her mother imagines being reunited with her on a television show such as This Is Your Life where the celebrity guest is confronted with her humble origins Maggie who is not bright and who bears severe burn scars from a house fire many years before is even more intimidated by her glamorous sibling To her mothers surprise Dee arrives wearing an ankle-length gold and orange dress jangling golden earrings and bracelets and hair that stands straight up like the wool on a sheep She greets them with an African salutation while her companion offers a Muslim greeting and tries to give Maggie a ceremonial handshake that she does not understand Moreover Dee says that she has changed her name to Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo because I couldnt bear it any longer being named after the people who oppress me Dees friend has an unpronounceable name which the mother finally reduces to Hakim-a-barber As a Muslim he will not eat the pork that she has prepared for their meal Whereas Dee had been scornful of her mothers house and possessions when she was younger even seeming happy when the old house burned down now she is delighted by
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