A Worn Path: Struggle for Racial Equality

1550 WordsDec 7, 20087 Pages
“A Worn Path”: Struggle for Racial Equality In “A Worn Path”, a short story by Eudora Welty, the main character, an old colored woman named Phoenix, slowly but surely makes her way down a “worn path” through the woods. Throughout her journey, she runs into many obstacles such as a thorny bush and a hunter. She overcomes these obstacles and continues with her travels. She finally reaches her destination, the doctor’s office, where she gets medicine for her sick grandson back home. Many critics have speculated that this short story represents the love a grandmother shows for her grandson. Others say this story represents life and death, where Phoenix represents an immortal figure. Dennis J. Sykes disagrees with the other critics by saying,…show more content…
Over she went in the ditch” (Welty 215) When the black dog came over, the dog saw Phoenix there and knocked her down off her feet which resulted in her falling in a ditch. This black dog knew Phoenix was there but pushed her down anyway, just how a black extremist may act when dealing with a nonviolent black individual. The dog wanted to get Phoenix out of his way so he could get to where he was going. There are many black extremists who strive to do whatever they can to gain freedom, even if it results in the destruction of people the same color as them. The black dog represents the extremists in how they attacked another black figure like itself. These characters portray the conflicting issues black individuals must deal with. Welty chose to use violent symbols to portray the violence slaves have previously dealt with. The author says “her cane, limber as a buggy whip…” (Welty 213) to compare Phoenix’s cane to a whip relating it back to when slave owners used whips to control their slaves. It’s ironic that Phoenix, who represents black slavery, is the character with the “whip” when she would be the one being whipped by her slave owner. This irony contributes to the story by showing Phoenix’s determination for freedom, and that eventually, blacks will reach desegregation, and whites and blacks will be equal. Another cruel form of punishment slave owners used on their slaves was chains. Historical analysts say owners would chain their slaves’ feet together
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