“A Worn Path” is a short story written by Eudora Welty that describes the trail Phoenix Jackson, an elderly African American lady, takes in order to reach a certain town during a festive holiday. Due to the imagery and terminology used to describe Phoenix such as, “[...] an old Negro woman [...]” (Welty, 221), it can be assumed that the story takes place during Christmas time in the rural countryside of the southern US, and presumably around the 1940’s. Nonetheless, Phoenix Jackson, the protagonist of this story, is guided through a mysterious path of natural dangers in an utmost forlorn disposition with a limited omniscient point of view. Furthermore, the third person narration with a limited omniscience that is exclusive to Phoenix herself tells about her experiences of the path and impressions she has upon strangers and people. Such was observed when the author denoted, “Finally, trembling all over, she stood free, and after a moment dared to stoop for her cane. ‘Sun so high!’ she cried, leaning back and looking, while the thick tears went over her eyes. ‘The time getting all gone here” (Welty, 222) The way the author described Phoenix’s actions, and how she, for the most part, spoke her thoughts out loud in a stream of consciousness form, allowed the reader to only be able to comprehend her impressions. Such descriptions and characterizations are not seen within other characters throughout the story. This settles the direct basis for a limited omniscient point of view because the reader, through the perspective of an eagle that observes Phoenix, is able to view life and the dangers along the way through her eyes and not through the perspectives of secondary characters such as the white hunter or nurse. In addition, another important literary aspect detected in Welty’s work is voice. Voice, in this case, served the generous purpose of giving vitality to Phoenix’s character. Such can be noted in her colloquial and casual form of language as seen in dialogue like, “who be you the ghost of? [...] My senses is gone. I too old. I the oldest people I ever know” (Welty, 223). Her informal language allows the reader to receive the impression that Phoenix is not from a wealthy and
Welcome to “Life and Death in Eudora Welty’s ‘A Worn Path’” an article written by Ronald Bartel. In his article, Bartel analyzes the character of Phoenix Jackson from Eudora Welty’s short story “A Worn Path”. Due to the limitation of time, we will be focusing on one major key in Bartel’s article. Today we will discuss Bartel’s view on how Phoenix Jackson’s journey to the city helps her prepare herself for her own death.
1. The theme of the story is: Racism is an issue that never seems to disappear no matter how much people say it does.
In Eudora Welty ‘A Worn Path’ is a short story where symbols are found everywhere throughout many places where you read. This short story is about an old woman named Phoenix Jackson whom was a black African American that was compared to a mythical Arabian bird, and actually that bird lived up to five centuries in desserts and after living those five centuries it would burn up; and then from those same ashes it would then be reborn and it would start from the
In the short story, “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty, the story's protagonist Phoenix Jackson travels from her home through the forest, to town where she goes to retrieve a remedy for her grandson's throat. Phoenix Jackson is an elderly black woman on a difficult, dangerous journey through the cold winter to reach the city. To maintain her balance through this journey and to ward off wild animals slinking through the woods, Phoenix walks with a thin cane made from an umbrella. She has made this trip many times before, however, this time around is much more difficult due to her aging body and fragile bones.
In this short story “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty, I will be analyzing symbolism. In the story “A Worn Path” the author uses symbolism to create a figurative explanation of the occurrences in her journey. This story has distinct symbols from myths, historical, and biblical events. The character Phoenix Jackson has various trials to go through on her way to town to get more medicine for her ill grandson.
Copyright Notice ©1998−2002; ©2002 by Gale. Gale is an imprint of The Gale Group, Inc., a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Gale and Design® and Thomson Learning are trademarks used herein under license. ©2007 eNotes.com LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this work covered by the copyright hereon may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, Web distribution or information storage retrieval systems without the written permission of the publisher. For complete copyright information on these eNotes please visit: http://www.enotes.com/worn−path/copyright
In the short story, Phoenix, an old Negro woman almost in her late years, takes her last journey through the woods like she had done for the past years, since her grandson got really sick by swallowing lye. In this journey Phoenix phases difficulties. Her old age made her hallucinate about her getting a marble cake given by a young child. Her difficulties to walk and her poor eye sight made her striped dress get stuck in the branches. Even though she went through all of these obstacles she was determined to go get her grandson’s medicine. Once she got closer to her destination she came across this White Hunter, who points his gun at her. Phoenix gets scared because she thought he saw her get a nickel which had fallen out his pocket, while she distracted him. Then she continued her journey until she saw her destination. When she got there she asked a white lady that was carrying gifts, to tie her shoe laces because she was entering this big building. Once she tied her shoe laces Phoenix continued, until she
On an everyday basis people are encountering challenges that stand in their way of them achieving their set goals. However, with determination the vast majority will accomplish the mission they have set out to conquer. In the short story “A Worn Path” written by Eudora Welty in 1940, Phoenix Jackson, the main character has a mission in which she is trying to complete when she is faced with many challenges. This short story is centered on the challenges that are faced by an elderly African-American grandmother as she continues on her long journey from the secluded pinewoods into the town nearby of Natchez. She has one intention in mind when she begins, to get a medicine for her chronically ill grandson no matter what the challenges are that she encounters. The one way to convey this idea to the readers is with the literary use of theme. Some of the major themes in Eudora Welty’s short story is the determination that Jackson conveys with her actions, the aspect of agism, and racism. The most important theme in this story is the emotional and spiritual strength of Jackson which enables her to continue her journey.
Within every person lies a will and a flame of strength to achieve any goal, or conquer any obstacle in life. In Eudora Welty 's "A Worn Path", her main protagonist, Mrs. Phoenix Jackson, perfectly displays the strength that a human possess. Despite being of old age, poor and out of shape, Mrs. Jackson 's strength defies these odds on the worn path that she walks daily. Human strength is abundant in "A Worn Path", as the author shows the reader the reason why mankind is so strong. Welty demonstrates that love is what makes Mrs. Jackson, and everyone else, strong enough to move mountains. The strength of Mrs. Jackson exceeds more than normal, due to the condition of her beloved grandson, so much that not pain, death, or pride can kindle the fire of her strength.
Eudora Welty's 'A Worn Path' is a story that emphasizes the natural symbolism of the surroundings. As the story begins, we are introduced to our main character, Phoenix Jackson; she is described as a small, old Negro woman. I believe that the name Eudora Welty gives our main character is very symbolic. The legend of the Phoenix is about a fabled sacred bird of ancient Egyptians. The bird is said to come out of Arabia every 500 years to Heliopolis, where it burned itself on the altar and rose again from its ashes, young and beautiful. Phoenix, the women in the story, represents the myth of the bird because she is described as being elderly and near the end of her life. Phoenix can hardly walk and uses a cane
For many decades, Eudora Welty’s genius has given rise to a community of critical thinking and debate. In “’A Worn Path’: The Eternal Quest of Welty’s Phoenix Jackson,” James Robert Saunders (1992) explores the various interpretations of Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path” by fellow critics who seek to make sense of the subtle and explicit symbolism throughout the story. Saunders goes on to analyze proposed theories such as that Phoenix Jackson, the protagonist, was symbolic of a religious figure and that Jackson’s grandson is in fact dead, but concludes that these arguments lack or ignore evidence throughout the story and pertinent history. Instead, Saunders proposes that Jackson is an individual with special abilities that allow her to protect nature and the innocent through the power of love (Saunders). In my analysis “’A Worn Path’: The Path of the Phoenix,” I acknowledge the deliberate use of the setting and character background implemented by Welty and conclude that Jackson is “the embodiment of the hopes and struggles African Americans experienced in a post-Civil War era.” Consequentially, after analyzing Saunders’ article, my argument that Jackson is an emblem of African American evolution finds strong support in the three points Saunders makes: Jackson lives up to her name, protects the innocent, and remains determined even against all odds.
“A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty is a short story in which fulfills all aspects of literary connotations. Phoenix Jackson’s only true motivation to keep living was to help keep her young grandson live. While there are a multitude of literary elements and devices splurged throughout the story, some of the first ones to spot make the biggest impact. Phoenix Jackson’s name is revealed in the first three lines of text, and leads the reader to make an immediate assumption. She makes this trek over and over again, continuously, and as she nears the end of her life she will nourish her own son back to health. Her journey to Natchez is filled with a multitude of impediments, but can mainly be broken down into the physical, social, and mental
Phoenix Jackson in Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path" has been compared to the mythological phoenix because of her birdlike qualities, and it's also been noticed that Phoenix possesses many of the same characteristics as Christ. But, what hasn't been addressed is the fact that Eudora Welty didn't just leave the symbolism to Christ alone. Welty also included many biblical allusions as well. Phoenix Jackson is not only symbolic of the mythological bird that rose from the ashes of its own demise or simply a Christ figure comparable to the Son of God, but she is also a biblical hero facing temptation and trials along her journey and succeeds unharmed and steadfast in her faith.
The short story "A Worn Path" by Eudora Welty, is a descriptive story of a grandmother's difficult journey, for a grandson she loves. Her devotion to her grandson and wanting to provide him with a better lifestyle, was her motivation to overcome these trials. On this trip, Phoenix Jackson, the grandmother, struggles against old age, nature, and reality.