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'A Visit Of Charity' and 'Old Mrs Chundle' - Both stories have a message or moral that the reader can draw from his reading. What do you think the message of these stories are, and which story in the most effective in getting it across?

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Introduction

Both stories have a message or moral that the reader can draw from his reading. What do you think the message of these stories are, and which story in the most effective in getting it across? Both 'A Visit Of Charity' and 'Old Mrs Chundle' have seemingly similar themes written in a different way. Old Mrs Chundle was written during the 1880's and is about an old woman who lives on her own in a country parish. However, the rather ironically titled A Visit Of Charity is set in 20th century America and concerns the visit of Marian, a campfire girl, to two old ladies living in an old people's home. Despite being set in different times and countries both stories have the same theme: the way we mistreat old people. Both the curate in Old Mrs Chundle and Marian in the Visit of Charity only pay attention to the elderly people in order to gain a reward for their gifts of charity. In Old Mrs Chundle the curate meets Mrs Chundle by chance when he was looking for somewhere to have lunch during a painting expedition. She lives a simple life growing her own food and copes alone despite her age. After the Industrial Revolution many old people found themselves alone in the countryside because the younger people had moved to the cities to find work. People in Mrs Chundle's time were more conscious of their status, as is obvious in the relationship between Mrs Chundle and the curate. At the start I become aware of this, 'Oh, faith, I don't want to eat with my betters- not I'. Mrs Chundle is conscious of the curate's social class and the built in social boundary that is between them. ...read more.

Middle

Eudora Welty also stresses words like 'Screamed', 'Eternity', 'forever' and 'Despair' more than once to paint a picture of hell throughout the whole of A Visit Of Charity. Eudora Welty does not portray the old ladies sympathetically. They argue with each other and one of the old ladies seemed ungrateful to their last visitor who had read to them from the bible. 'Who enjoyed it said the women in bed!' Perhaps the women wanted someone to talk to her as an individual instead of just reading to them from the bible. Marian, is aware of why the previous visitor had been keen on bible reading, 'If they took a bible with them on the bus and read it to the old ladies, it counted double'. This shows that Marian's selfish attitude is typical of young people. Marian soon makes an excuse to leave, 'I can't stay but a minute'. She wants to spend the minimum time to earn her campfire points. We learn of the horror of being abandoned in old peoples homes, 'Your heart and hands and your old black purse are empty '. Not only do they not have any money left they also have no love to fill their hearts'. One woman feels that it is the ultimate insult to be visited by total strangers with doubtful motives. 'Is it possible that they actually done a think like this to anyone- sent them in a stranger to talk'. This woman has no friends or relatives who visit her and she feels rejected. Society is not doing enough to comfort her by sending a succession of strangers who fail to develop a relationship with her. The old people are totally dependant on others, 'When the worst comes to the worst, I ring the bell, and the nurse comes'. ...read more.

Conclusion

The ending again is depressing as no one has benefited in any way from the visit. Marian makes a swift exit from the old people and will never look back at the visit showing no remorse for the old ladies, "Her hands got colder and colder ...How dark it was..." who live in a cold, dark and bleak room in a nursing home where the nurses do not provide necessary treatment and care to the old ladies who live in unacceptable conditions. Welty keeps her distance from the old characters to make this point about lack of compassion and sympathy. Welty doesn't want us to like the characters as the feelings for the two old ladies would be taken into consideration. In a way Welty presents the a stereotypical view of the old ladies. These views expressed in 'A Visit of Charity' see old woman as cantankerous, thin, lonely, jaded and totally dependant on nurses for assistance, "The old woman in bed cleared her throat and spoke" emphasised by the phrase, "Women in bed". Looking after old people and treating them with respect and care is important because they do have a use, lessons can be learnt from them and one day we will be old. I ask the question, would you like it if you were treated this way when you become old? I presume not. The issue has been addressed in different ways so we see the many sides to the problem. Should we completely forget about old people and run out of the nursing home without saying goodbye just as Marian did? Or else should we accept the teachings in Old Mrs Chundle about the relationship that the young should be having with the old? Ultimately we shouldn't have to seek for rewards when visiting old people. ...read more.

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