I love great beginnings. It was mid-morning—a cold, bright day. She wore a red coat, and her straight yellow hair was hanging down loose from the pointed white cap all the little girls were wearing that year. She stopped for a moment beside one of the prickly dark shrubs with which the city had beautified the Home, and then proceeded slowly toward the building, which was of whitewashed brick and reflected the winter sunlight like a block of ice. As she walked vaguely up the steps she shifted the small pot from hand to hand; then she had to set it down and remove her mittens before she could open the heavy door. One of the remarkable aspects of this passage, and indeed of the story as a whole, is the point of view employed by the author.
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It was mid-morning—a very cold, bright day. She wore a red coat, and her straight yellow hair was hanging down loose from the pointed white cap all the little girls were wearing that year. She stopped for a moment beside one of the prickly dark shrubs with which the city had beautified the Home, and then proceeded slowly toward the building, which was of whitewashed brick and reflected the winter sunlight like a block of ice.
As she walked vaguely up the steps she shifted the small pot from hand to hand; then she had to set it down and remove her mittens before she could open the heavy door. This was a woman in a white uniform who looked as if she were cold; she had close-cut hair which stood up on the very top of her head exactly like a sea wave.
Marian, the little girl, did not tell her that this visit would give her a minimum of only three points in her score. She lifted one eyebrow and spoke like a man. With her free hand she pushed her hair behind her ears, as she did when it was time to study Science.
The nurse shrugged and rose. There was loose, bulging linoleum on the floor. Marian felt as if she were walking on the waves, but the nurse paid no attention to it. There was a smell in the hall like the interior of a clock.
Everything was silent until, behind one of the doors, an old lady of some kind cleared her throat like a sheep bleating.
This decided the nurse. Stopping in her tracks, she first extended her arm, bent her elbow, and leaned forward from the hips, all to examine the watched strapped to her wrist; then she gave a loud double-rap on the door. One old woman was pulling the door open in short, gradual jerks, and when she saw the nurse a strange smile forced her old face dangerously awry. Marian, suddenly propelled by the strong, impatient arm of the nurse, saw next the side-face of another woman, even older, who was lying flat in bed with a cap on and a counterpane drawn up to her chin.
Marian stood tongue-tied; both hands held the potted plant. The old woman, still with that terrible, square smile which was a smile of welcome stamped on her bony face, was waiting…Perhaps she said something. The old woman in bed said nothing at all, and she did not look around.
Suddenly Marian saw a hand, quick as a bird claw, reach up in the air and pluck the white cap off her head. At the same time, another claw to match drew her all the way into the room, and the next moment the door closed behind her. Marian stood enclosed by a bed, a washstand and a chair; the tiny room had altogether too much furniture. Everything smelled wet—even the bare floor.
She held on to the back of the chair, which was wicker and felt soft and damp. Her heart beat more and more slowly, her hands got colder and colder, and she could not hear whether the old women were saying anything or not. She could not see them very clearly.
How dark it was! The window shade was down, and the only door was shut. She stood holding the pot in an undecided way. Then the old woman in bed cleared her throat and spoke. Marian wished she had the little pot back for just a moment—she had forgotten to look at the plant herself before giving it away. What did it look like? She had a bunchy white forehead and red eyes like a sheep.
Now she turned them toward Marian. To her surprise, Marian could not remember her name. A sheep or a germ? Read to us out of the Bible and we enjoyed it! The first old woman had just finished putting the potted plant high, high up on top of the wardrobe, where it could hardly be seen from below. Marian wondered how she had ever succeeded in placing it there, how she could ever have reached so high. She looked down at the wet floor and thought that if she were sick in here they would have to let her go.
With much to-do the first old woman sat down in a rocking chair—still another piece of furniture! With the fingers of one hand she touched a very dirty cameo pin on her chest. She seemed to rock faster and faster; Marian did not see how anyone could rock so fast. But the old woman had not listened, anyway; she was rocking and watching the other one, who watched back from the bed.
She has to take medicine—see? She stopped the rocker with a neat pat of her feet and leaned toward Marian. Her hand reached over—it felt like a petunia leaf, clinging and just a little sticky.
You never came and you never went. You never were anything—only here. You never were born! Your head is empty, your heart and hands and your old black purse are all empty—you showed it to me.
Who are you? Is it possible that they have actually done a thing like this to anyone—sent them in a stranger to talk, and rock, and tell away her whole long rigmarole?
This old woman was looking at her with despair and calculation in her face. Her small lips suddenly dropped apart, and exposed a half circle of false teeth with tan gums. Marian was trembling, and her heart nearly stopped beating altogether for a moment. With a finger which would not hold still she pointed to a little bell on the table among the bottles. Now she could see the old woman in bed very closely and plainly, and very abruptly, from all sides, as in dreams.
She wondered about her—she wondered for a moment as though there was nothing else in the world to wonder about. It was the first time such a thing had happened to Marian. The old face on the pillow, where Marian was bending over it, slowly gathered and collapsed. Soft whimpers came out of the small open mouth. It was a sheep that she sounded like—a little lamb.
Marian jumped up and moved toward the door. For the second time, the claw almost touched her hair, but it was not quick enough. The little girl put her cap on. Then from behind she suddenly clutched the child with her sharp little fingers. Marian pulled violently against the old hands for a moment before she was free. Marian never replied. She pushed the heavy door open into the cold air and ran down the steps. Under the prickly shrub she stooped and quickly, without being seen, retrieved a red apple she had hidden there.
Her yellow hair under the white cap, her scarlet coat, her bare knees flashed in the sunlight as she ran to meet the big bus rocketing through the street. As though at an imperial command, the bus ground to a stop. I still have the esay but this is the first time since then I have reread the story. It is good. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account.
Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Blog at WordPress. Marian suddenly pitched against the chair and sat down in it. She tried to think but she could not. Will you hush! Marian leaned back rigidly in her chair. She jumped on and took a big bite out of the apple. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading Richard Taylor February 15, at am. Serp3nt October 17, at pm. This is Good… Reply. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:.
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“A Visit of Charity” by Eudora Welty
You cannot copy content from our website. If you need this sample, insert an email and we'll deliver it to you. Marian Character Analysis. Even though this act should be one that is generous, and caring, Marian is very selfish and cruel to the old women. In the story, Marian is an immature girl who acts as if she is dumb in a way.
A Visit of Charity. by Eudora Welty
Holding a potted plant before her, a girl of fourteen jumped off the bus in front of the Old Ladies Home, on the outskirts of town. She wore a red coat, and her straight yellow hair was hanging down loose from the pointed white cap all the little girls were wearing that year. She stopped for a moment beside one of the prickly dark shrubs with which the city had beautified the Home, and then proceeded slowly toward the building, which was of whitewashed brick and reflected the winter sunlight like a block of ice. As she walked vaguely up the steps she shifted the small pot from hand to hand; then she had to set it down and remove her mittens before she could open the heavy door.