She thinks she knows who she is, she knows what she wants, and she is ready to achieve these things in any way possible. Mama claims that Dee “has held life always in the palm of one hand, that "no" is a word the world never learned to say to her.” Maggie, on the other hand, is very unsure. She spends most of her time preparing for Dee’s visit on how she looks, too aware of what Dee may think of her. Even though she is young, something that her mother constantly reminds herself of, her lack of confidence makes her seem younger. During the conflict involving the quilt, Mama notices that Maggie is more than willing to give up the blanket because she knows she is going to lose the fight to Dee.
While it is clear that Dee and Maggie are fond of each other, even if on a deep-down level, there is still quite a bit of tension between the two. Mama is the first one to point out the tension. Dee is disappointed by Maggie, with Mama making the claim that she used to believe that Dee downright hated her sister. Though living in the same house while growing up, the two sisters existed in different worlds. Educated and worldly, Dee was always disappointed by Maggie, childish and unintelligent. Similarly, Maggie is nervous of Dee, and for many of the same reasons. Maggie is also nervous of her sister due to the physical damage she received when her house caught on fire, while Dee had made it out of the house in time. Always being compared to her sister by her sister, Maggie had grown to respond only with nervousness when Dee was around.
Perhaps the only person that Dee has respect for is herself, while Maggie has respect for others, especially her own family - a trait that shocks Mama towards the end of the short story. While Dee spends much of the story trying to obtain family heirlooms from her mother, she becomes persistent over a quilt that Mama had promised to Maggie. "’Maggie would put them on the bed and in five years theyd be in rags. Less than