The story “A Visit to the Grandmother” introduces us to the problems faced by a family in the modern society. It brings out underlying issues that break up families if gone unsolved. Lack of communication and understanding among the family members enhances conflicts. The title of this story creates an image of a loving family and comforting scenes, but once you read it through, it becomes clear that it is an indication of a disaster. Dr. Charles Dunsford has left home with his oldest son Charles “Chig” to attend his 20 year college reunion in Nashville, Tennessee. After the celebrations, he decides to visit his mother who they had stayed with for a couple of years. Chig’s father never talked about his mother; the only relative he ever talked about was his brother GL. Once they arrive there, it surprises that his mother can hardly believe that her son has come to visit her. Rose, GL’s wife assures her that indeed it is her son Charles. understands that his father resents his grandmother. He is worried by the look on his father’s face, when he bends to kiss his grandmother.
The story unfolds as they sit down for dinner, when a heated debate arises and Chig gets to understand the reason for his father’s resentment. The story brings us into the world of a man who felt rejected and unloved by his family. He felt that his mother only cared about his brother GL. She would do a lot of things with GL, like riding on the horse, but not with him. She was always busy for him. Charles thinks that his mother favored his brother because he was light- skinned or had a good hair. He blames his mother for the lack of love during his teens. His mother argues that she felt Charles was mature and could, therefore, not have been close to him as her other son GL despite the age difference. The mood at the dinner table is tense and, at the climax, Chig’s father, who is in tears, excuses himself. We learn about the issues that are likely to emerge between parents and their kids. What some kids think, when parents seem to favor others, the resentment and hatred that slowly builds up in a family, when matters go unresolved, how such issues can have drastic effects on kids, even when they have grown and, finally, how some grudges can last for long due to distance, misunderstanding and lack of communication.
Thirty years have passed since Charles left home. Though this seems to be a long time for someone to forget and, maybe, forgive those who wronged him, it is not the case of Charles. He still resents his mother for not caring about him when growing up. He talks of how he cried, when he left home at the age of 15 years. He goes on to confront his mother about an incidence that took place when he and his brother were kids. Charles feels that his mother could have done more to show her love to him. He did not like that she seemed to care more about GL. Here, we learn about how parents can cause conflicts within a family. We realize that kids think differently in relation of who is cared more. Charles may not have been mistreated, but the fact that more attention was given to his brother pissed him a lot and later developed the hatred for his mother. From the confrontation, he tells his mother that she is 30 years late. This shows that he believes her, but she should have cleared his thoughts when he was a teenager.
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All in all, several themes can be derived from the story. One of them means that everything is not always as it seems. Chig thought his family was doing well and that there existed no grudges, but to his big surprise, it was not the case. Another one is irony. Charles thought his mother never loved him, however, she loved all her children but had to give more attention to GL, because he seemed immature and irresponsible, unlike Charles, who was smart and accountable for his actions.
The main idea derived from the story is that family is one of the most important units in life. Issues arising within a family should be dealt with once they emerge. Parents should give equal attention to their kids in order to prevent some of them from feeling neglected. Despite all, family ties are hard to break. Even after 30 years of separation, the bond between Charles and his mother is still strong. Probably, there is no one who can love us more than our parents.