“A Visit Of Charity” Essay, Research Paper
24 July 2000
A Character Analysis of Marian in ?A Visit of Charity?
In the short story, ?A Visit of Charity,? Eudora Welty illustrates the story of a fourteen-year-old girl named Marian, who is a Campfire Girl that is paying a visit to the Old Ladies? Home in order to earn points as a Campfire Girl. Marian thought that this would be an easy task that would take just a little of her time and an insignificant amount of effort on her part. She even brought a potted plant for extra points. Marian thought that she was going to visit a sweet and kind little old lady, but she encountered not one, but two old ladies who were far from gracious and charming. The visit was not at all like Marian had expected. She received many growling insults from one of the miserable old ladies, and the other old lady tried to play on Marian?s sympathy to get money. Even though her name implies that she was bitter and rebellious, Marian endeavored to exhibit love and kindness by visiting a nursing home. However, her motives for the visit were far from endearing and compassionate. Her statements and actions reveal that she was deceptive, aphonic, apprehensive, selfish and self-centered, na?ve, unconfident, and apathetic.
Through her statements it shows she was deceptive, aphonic, and apprehensive. Marian?s deceptive approach was evident because she was there on the pretense of doing a good deed, but in reality she was there only to earn points as a Campfire Girl. This statement reveals her deceitful manner: ?Marian, the little girl, did not tell her that this visit would give her a minimum of only three points in her score? (Welty 639). Marian?s aphonic conduct continuously found her at a loss for words. She could not even remember her name when asked by one of the old ladies, ?Who are you?? (Welty 640). Marian, forgetting her name, answered the old lady, ?I?m a Campfire Girl? (Welty 640). ?I don?t know,? was Marian?s reply when asked, ?What do you do at school?? (Welty 641). Her apprehension was also a notable characteristic. She became alarmed and very faint when the old lady pulled her into the dark, dank room, snatched the white cap off Marian?s head, and shut the door. Marian clutched the back of a chair, her heart rate began to beat very slowly, and her hands got very cold. ?Marian looked at the ceiling?It was like being caught in a robber?s cave just before one was murdered? (Welty 640). After listening to the old ladies fuss and fret, Marian suddenly said, ?I can?t stay but a minute?really, I can?t.? Marian then wished she were sick so the old ladies would have to let her go.
Through her actions she shows that she was selfish and self-centered, na?ve, unconfident, apathetic. Marian?s motive for the visit to the Old Ladies? Home exhibited her self-centered and selfish purpose. She didn?t visit them out of the compassion and kindness of her heart, but her incentive was to earn points for her Campfire Girl status. Also, she hid an apple for herself outside the building instead of bringing it to an old lady. ?Under the prickly shrub she stooped and quickly, without being seen, retrieved a red apple she had hidden there? (Welty 643). Marian was na?ve because she thought that she was going to the Old Ladies? Home to quickly visit some sweet old lady who couldn?t do much except talk. To her surprise, she ended up being insulted by rude comments, and upon the leaving the room, she was harassed by an old lady who wanted some money. Marian?s lack of confidence was displayed when she started to have a conversation with the ladies and then fell silent because she thought the old ladies weren?t listening. Marian began to say, ?If we bring flowers?,? then she fell silent? (Welty 641). When Marian began to talk, the old lady kept rocking in her chair, paying most of her attention to the old lady in the next bed. It was as if Marian was not there. When one of the old ladies leaned toward Marian to talk with her, ?Marian leaned back rigidly in her chair.? Marian?s apathetic spirit was clearly exposed when, upon leaving the home, she hurriedly caught the bus. ?She jumped on and took a big bite out of the apple? (Welty 643). Marian?s concerns were apparently not for the hapless old ladies, but for catching the bus and getting home. She was relieved that she had done her duty and earned her points.
In conclusion, Marian set out to fulfill a charitable duty for the Campfire Girls? organization. Marian?s venture was to be one of love and kindness. However, as the story reveals, Marian?s motives for the visit were far from endearing and compassionate. Her statements and actions clearly exhibited characteristics that were contradictory to a charitable visit.