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The Visit (Essay)

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The Visit

There comes a time where you change your views on love. You might think that you already know what there is to know about love but if you’re still young you can still learn a lot. This is the phase of life Mike is facing in the American short story “The Visit”.
This short story takes place in America in 1965. The situation is about Mike who is going to visit his grandmother at Lawncrest Residents where she lives – even though he doesn’t want to. Mike’s grandmother thinks that he is her dead husband because they are very similar in their looks and also because they have the same name.
The story is told in the first person from Mike’s point of view and it’s written in the pastence. The story starts in medias res. It makes the story much more interesting and it makes you want to keep reading. The story is written like a diary. You can see it’s written like a diary because it looks like he is talking to himself. Line 22 “Let me tell you what the visit to Lawncrest was all about.” This quotation clearly shows that it looks like Mike is talking to himself. There are also a lot of flashbacks in the story especially when Mike’s grandmother talks about her past memories with Mike’s grandfather. It’s also written in a youth language. Line 55 “She was propped up in bed, pillows puffed behind her.” This quotation shows that the story is written in a youth language.
Mike is the story’s main character. He is a 17-year old boy who is in a relationship with his girlfriend, Cindy. He is in puberty and he is growing a moustache as an experiment. He thinks that elder people aren’t real human beings with feelings. He decides to go visit his grandmother even though he doesn’t want to in the beginning of the story. He thinks that he will feel guilty if he didn’t go. He is a typical teenager who uses a lot of slang in his language. He likes cars and he also likes to drive fast.
The grandmother is a 73-year old woman who has an illness called arteriosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis causes memory loss. The illness is the reason why she thinks that Mike is her dead husband. Since she has the illness she can’t live at home by her own or with family. She is also very fragile and Mike can almost feel her bones when he holds her hand. She is trying to get forgiveness from Mike because she did something in the past and since she thinks Mike is her dead husband who has come back to her.
Mike develops a lot mentally. In the beginning of the story Mike thinks that it’s some kind of a duty call when he goes to visit his grandmother. Later on he realizes that his grandmother is a real person with real feelings and that she has a life in addition to being his grandmother. Lines 155-157 “You drive out to visit an old lady in a nursing home. A duty call. And then you find out that she’s a person. She is somebody. She’s my grandmother, all right, but she’s also herself. Like my own mother and father. They exist outside of their relationship to me.” This quotation shows how Mike realizes that his grandmother is a person and that she has a life besides being his grandmother. He also changes his view on love. He realizes that love can be a lot more than just his girlfriend’s sparkling eyes and it’s something alive that never dies. Lines 165-170 “For the first time in my life, I saw love at work. Not movie love. Not Cindy’s sparkling eyes when I tell her that we’re going to the beach on a Sunday afternoon. But love like something alive and tender, asking nothing in return.” This quotation shows Mike’s development on his view on love.
The story ends with that Mike is leaving his grandmother with a new view on love. When he comes home he wants to ask his parents about forgiveness. He wants to ask if there is something to forgive between you. But he didn’t ask them. Instead he walks upstairs and shaves his moustache.
To round off the story has major themes and minor themes. I think the major theme is realization. Mike realizes that his grandmother has a life besides being his grandmother. He also realizes that love is a very unique thing that can last forever. He realizes that when he hears his grandmother talk about her past memories with his grandfather. A minor theme can be family relations. The story also shows how the relationship between Mike and his grandmother changes. Before the visit Mike thought that his grandmother wasn’t a person with a meaningful life. But throughout the story he changes his view on his grandmother and she regains Mike’s sympathy.

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