How does the ending of the story help to develop Charles's character?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The ending of the story presents a surprise to the reader of "A Visit to Grandmother." Throughout most of his life, Charles has harbored a resentment for his brother GL, who, Charles feels, has received much more maternal love and favored attention than he. But, during his visit to his mother years later, she explains to Charles that she has given GL more attention than she has Charles throughout their lives because she always felt she must focus upon GL in order to prevent him from hanging: "GL could-a ended up swinging if I hadn't." 

At the very end of the story, when GL, the reckless brother of Charles, enters the house, it is with the "innocent smile of a five-year-old" that he calls out that he has heard his brother is in town. The friendly tone of his voice, and his ingenuous smile and genuine affection displayed for his brother underscore what his mother has just said of him to Charles as she defends her having given him more attention. It also contradicts the grievances which Charles holds against GL. Therefore, Charles has lived his life with resentment towards his mother, believing that she has preferred GL because he is very light-skinned. He has also harbored resentment toward his brother that has been completely unfounded.