An Unfortunate, Undeniable Truth
Welty and Seaver demonstrate that through society’s failure to overcome the neglect and alienation of the elderly, loss of identity and dehumanization are the ultimate results.
From Seaver’s personal accounts and Welty’s short story, society’s failure to mend its indifference and neglect of nursery home residents is made painfully obvious. Anna Seaver and the elderly women from “A Visit to Charity,” are subject to both social and psychological isolation. An unseen barrier has been placed between Seaver and what she terms “the outside world” Despite receiving brief reprieve from her loneliness through family visitations, Seaver describes how her guests would “visit for awhile,” and then she would “be alone again” . Her contact with others is limited, and meaningful communication with ...view middle of the document...
Addie, grown bitter and resentful, is incredulous, questioning, “Is it possible that they have actually done a thing like this to anyone…?” ). Suffering from the knowledge of her alienation from society, Addie is now forced to endure everyday bedridden with an unfamiliar roommate, waited on by an indifferent staff. Both Seaver and Addie must live with abandonment and exclusion from the world they were once a part of. Society has turned its back on these women, leaving them to spend their final days in isolation. The alienation of the elderly is an unfortunate theme that permeates both of these literary pieces, demonstrating society’s indifference.
Anna Seaver and Welty’s character of Addie demonstrate the ill-fated loss of identity and dignity resulting from society’s negligence. They are victims, and prime examples, of the dehumanization of the elderly as a consequence of isolation and indifference. It is as Addie describes, a tragic circumstance in which, “You never went to school. You never came and you never went. You never were anything-only here. You don’t know anything. Your head is empty, your heart and hands and your old black purse are all empty” (page 3). All that has been built in Addie’s lifetime holds no meaning in the nursing home, and she is reduced to just another resident, or in the Campfire Girls words, “some old lady” Seaver is another example of such a loss of quality of life, the highlight of her day now becoming the “67 minutes until breakfast” ). Not only is she forced into a mundane routine, but Seaver must now deal with the severe loss of privacy that living in a nursing home entails. She journals after an aggravating experience with the staff, demanding, “Am I invisible? Have I lost my right to respect and dignity?”. These women are still the human beings they were in their youth, but have now lost their individuality in the eyes of society. Reduced to just another task in