Point of View in Eudora Welty’s A Visit of Charity
Every now and then point of view is worth writing about, because only every now and then is point of view actually seriously considered. In Eudora Welty’s “A Visit of Charity,” the third-person limited point of view of the little girl, Marian—her self-consciousness, descriptions, and fear—exactly portray what a little girl might experience in a nursing home.
To Marian, this is probably the first time in a nursing home. She is there simply because she wants to gain points; when asked who she would like to visit, Marian simply states, “any of them will do.” She brought flowers simply because they added a point, and hid her apple outside rather than have it accidentally considered to be a gift. Marian is a very self-conscious girl; she is deftly aware of all the point values associated with the visit and is wearing the same cap that “all the little girls were wearing that year.” While actually visiting the ladies, she is very afraid, as a young girl might be in a strange place, but is still mindful of her own affairs and interests, ignoring what the ladies say until it grabs her attention. She comes, gives the flowers (without actually looking at them), and leaves. Even a close call with real human compassion is just that and nothing more, and scares her into leaving, tearing away from all contact with the nursing home and going back to her own comfortable world.
Marian seems to describe her world around her as a little girl might, by comparing the attributes of things she sees to other, similar, things. The receptionist and the hall are wavy (Marian seems to pay special attention to the odd way the receptionist looks at her watch) and the old ladies are bird-like and sheep-like, even to the extent that Marian thinks of Addie’s coughing as nothing more than a sheep’s...