A Visit of Charity by Eudora Welty

In “A Visit of Charity,” Eudora Welty uses symbols to reveal the shallowness of the two main characters. The symbols also show how the girls are self-centered and lack concern for others.

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In “A Visit of Charity,” Eudora Welty uses the setting and characters to develop the themes of aging, loneliness, and cowardice. The story is narrated by a fifteen-year-old Scout, who is visiting an old people’s home as part of a school charity project. The old people in the home are frail and many are senile. The Scout is uncomfortable and out of her element.

Eudora Welty’s Life

Eudora Welty was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She attended the Mississippi State College for Women and later graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. In 1935, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in writing and photography. After a few years, she returned to Mississippi and began working for the Works Progress Administration, a government relief program during the Great Depression.

During World War II, Welty served as a volunteer in the American Red Cross. After the war, she traveled to Europe on a Guggenheim Fellowship and returned to Mississippi to care for her elderly parents.

Welty’s first novel, The Optimist’s Daughter, was published in 1972 and won the Pulitzer Prize. She continued to write short stories, essays, and novels throughout her life. She died in 2001 at the age of 92.

Themes in “A Visit of Charity”

One of the primary themes in “A Visit of Charity” is the idea of duty or responsibility. The two old women who run the home visit the girls in the orphanage not out of any sense of altruism or love, but simply because it is their job. They view the girls as a chore, something to be gotten through as quickly and efficiently as possible. There is no warmth or kindness in their interactions with the children.

Another theme in the story is that of appearance vs. reality. On the surface, the old women come across as caring and selfless individuals, but we quickly realize that they are anything but. Their cold, bureaucratic attitude towards the orphans reveals their true nature. In contrast, the girls at the orphanage seem to have little in terms of material possessions, but they are nonetheless happy and content. They have each other for support and comfort, and that is ultimately more important than anything else.

Analysis of “A Visit of Charity”

In “A Visit of Charity”, Eudora Welty uses symbols to develop the theme of self-sacrifice. The old woman and the girls in the nursing home are symbols of self-sacrifice. The old woman represents the self-sacrificing mother who gives up her own happiness for the sake of her children. The girls in the nursing home represent the self-sacrificing daughters who give up their own happiness for the sake of their mother.

The Setting

The story is set in December, which Welty says is “the coldest month of the year.” It takes place in a city, which is not named but is described as a “great stone city full of people.” The city has many tall buildings and is “noiseless” because of the cold weather. There are no cars or people on the streets. The only sound is the wind.

The story takes place in a women’s charity home. The home is for old ladies who are not able to take care of themselves. The home is described as a “miserable place.” It is dirty and smells bad. The ladies who live there are old and sick. They are not able to take care of themselves.

The Characters

While “A Visit of Charity” is a very short story, it contains a surprisingly large number of characters. The story revolves around the two main characters, Marian and the old woman. However, there are also a number of supporting characters who play important roles in the development of the plot.

Marian is the protagonist of the story. She is a young girl who is visiting an old woman in a nursing home. Marian is a member of the Junior League, and she is doing her “visit of charity” as part of her required service hours. She is polite and well-meaning, but she is also very uncomfortable in the presence of the old woman. Marian feels that she must hurry through her visit so that she can get back to her comfortable life.

The old woman is the other main character in the story. She is an elderly resident of the nursing home who is bedridden and does not have many visitors. The old woman does not speak, but she communicates through her facial expressions and body language. She conveys a feeling of great sadness and desperation.

The nurse who accompanies Marian on her visit is a supporting character. She does not say much, but she provides some comic relief with her dry comments about the residents of the nursing home. The nurse also serves as a reminder of the difference between Marian’s life and the lives of the people who live in the nursing home.

The other residents of the nursing home are also supporting characters. They are mostly background figures, but they help to create a feeling of isolation and desperation.

The Plot

The story is set in a children’s home, which Welty visited during her work for the Red Cross. Two teenage girls, Marian and Charity, are sent to visit an elderly woman in a nearby hospital. The girls are from the children’s home, and they have been told that they are going to visit someone who is very ill and may not have long to live.

The old woman is in a hospital bed, and she is very thin and frail. She looks at the girls with a look of confusion and fear. The girls try to make small talk with the woman, but she does not seem to understand what they are saying. Finally, the woman says that she wants to die.

The girls are shocked by the woman’s words, and they try to comfort her. They tell her that she is not going to die, and they will come back to see her soon. As they leave the room, the girls feel sorry for the old woman.


In conclusion, Eudora Welty’s “A Visit of Charity” is a heartwarming story that teaches the importance of empathy and compassion. The story follows two young girls from different backgrounds who come together and learn from each other. Welty’s use of imagery and symbolism help to illustrate the important lesson of the story.

The Significance of the Title

The title of Eudora Welty’s short story “A Visit of Charity” refers to the much-anticipated yearly visit that the girls in the orphanage make to the old women’s home. The visit is a tradition that gives the girls a sense of importance and purpose, and something to look forward to. It’s also an opportunity for them to show off their best behavior and prettiest clothes.

The title could also be interpreted more broadly to refer to the girls’ act of charity in giving their time and attention to the old women. In a way, the visit brings joy to both groups of women – the orphans feel appreciated and needed, while the old women receive companionship and care.

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