Therefore, Dee does not see the dasher or the churn as valuable items that she can use; she sees them as artifacts from a historical time that she can put use in a decorative manner.
As Dee states, “’I can use the churn top as a centerpiece for the alcove table,’ she said, sliding a plate over the churn, ‘and I’ll think of something artistic to do with the dasher’” (1129).
Mother, the narrator of the story, explains Dee's personality and background.
Dee apparently has been running from her poverty stricken past since she was a child.
Maggie is portrayed as a homely and ignorant girl, while Dee is portrayed as a beautiful and educated woman.
The story goes beyond these differences, though, to deal mainly with the way in which the two sisters value their heritage.Maggie and “Mama” continue to keep the tradition of a simple and hardworking life that seems to be passed down from generations, but we see that Dee has been a black sheep since a young age and holds resentment toward her family because of their lifestyle.Mama was raised into this lifestyle and has become satisfied and happy with it.Moreover, the handicrafts’ Mama contains inside her home represent symbolic meaning of heritage in their family’s struggles and experiences.For example, Dee wanted to use the churn and dasher as centerpieces and as a form of art, rather than putting them to good use.With her man-ish skills she readily adopts the chores of the life she’s accepted, but like any parent, wants the best she possible can for her dear daughters.Maggie, like her mother, lacks many natural gifts like beauty or brains, Her own beauty was not enough, her style draped her in obnoxious and flashy clothing and jewelry.When the Johnson's house burnt down, Dee just stood from afar and watched. The demolished house and Dee's nonchalant attitude represents her detachment from her family and their prized possessions (Cowart 172).Mother wanted to ask her "why don't you do a dance around the ashes? Dee physically separates herself from her family as soon as she is old enough.Her name, as well, had been replaced by something just shy of being beyond the capability of their mouths.When Mama asked what happened to Dee, she explained “She’s dead, I couldn’t bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me” (170).