A visit of charity Essay

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A Visit of Charity
In the short story of "A Visit of Charity" by Eudora Welty, a fourteen-year-old girl visits two women in a home for the elderly to bring them a plant and to earn points for Campfire Girls. Welty implies through this story that neither the society that supports the home nor the girl, Marian, knows the meaning of the word "charity." Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines "charity" as "the love of man for his fellow men: an act of good will or affection." But instead of love, good will, and affection, self-interest, insensitivity, and dehumanization prevail in this story. Welty's description of the setting and her portrayal of Marian dramatize the theme that people's
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Throughout her so-called visit of charity, Marian perceived the old women she meets sometimes as things and sometimes as animals. During her brief stay at the Home, Marian thinks of the first old woman as a bird and the second as a sheep. In her eyes, the first woman moves in "short, gradual jerks" like a bird, has "a hand quick as a bird claw," and grabs her with the grip of a talon. The other woman, bundled up in bed with a quilt, appears to Marian to resemble a sheep. When Marian first sees her, she describes her mentally as having "a bunchy white forehead and red eyes like a sheep." When this second woman clears her throat or talks, she sounds to Marian like a sheep bleating or a lamb whimpering. Marian's unconscious dehumanization of the women, her reduction of them to objects and creatures, reveals her own insensitivity. She refers to an old woman as an object to be used and discarded when she announces the purpose of her visit: "I'm a Campfire Girl ... I have to pay a visit to some old lady." These words and her frequent thoughts about the points she will get for the visit reveal her real reason for coming: self-gain. An old woman -- "any of them will do" she says -- is an impersonal thing with no identity or personality.

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