Analyzing “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty
1. The theme of the story is: Racism is an issue that never seems to disappear no matter how much people say it does. 2. The title is significant because it explains Phoenix’s journeys. If a pair of shoes are worn everyday, eventually they will become worn out. Phoenix took that path all the time to get medicine for her grandson. The fact that she always took that path wore it out and is considered a worn path. 3. The story takes place in the south after slavery was abolished, roughly around 1920. This is because there are cotton and corn fields mentioned in the story. Cotton was a slave crop and it hints that the setting is in the south. The era is supported by the fact that Phoenix is an old black woman and that at first she didn’t get too much respect from the white hunter. 4. The significance of the season in the story is that it sets a sympathetic and sad mood. This makes the reader feel bad for Phoenix. The fact that it is around Christmas is also significant. Christmas is the time for family and all that Phoenix has is her grandson and she has to walk to get him medicine so he can survive. 5. Time is important in this story because Phoenix doesn’t have much time to get the medicine. She needs it as soon as possible because her grandson is very sick. So sick that she has to feed him like a bird. This could also be important because she can’t leave him to starve. The fact that her grandson is all she has left, Phoenix needs to get the medicine as soon as possible in order for her grandson to survive. 6. The fact that Phoenix can’t see well makes the journey more difficult. In the story she just closes her eyes when crossing the log because she probably knows that she can’t see it, so why keep them open? In order to know if you are going in the right direction, you have to be able to see the path and things around you. 7. Phoenix gets her name from the bird phoenix. The phoenix lights itself on fire when it is in a battle. It is then born out of its ashes. In the story, Phoenix does not give up and goes into town every time her grandson needs medicine. She had a lot of perseverance. Her name is a symbol for that perseverance. 8. The description of Phoenix helps with the meaning of the story because it describes that even the most poor person has other struggles. Many people say that if something really bad happens to you, live poverty, that nothing else can happen to you. That is proved wrong in the story because Phoenix is poor and was a slave yet now she had lost her family and losing her grandson. One can predict that she is poor because her apron is made out of old bleached sugar bags and she uses an umbrella as a cane. She was also a slave and the fact that she said that she felt like she had chains around her ankles. In order to know what that feels like she would have had that happen to her before. The fact that she has to go into town for medicine also makes it a struggle. The description also goes back to the reason for the bird phoenix. Welty describes that Phoenix is wearing a red rag around her head and that she has a golden color to her skin. This is significant because a phoenix is red and gold. I think that color was really incorporated in the story. 9. Forest can also mean a dark place and a strange, scary place. The significance of the forest could be that Phoenix is going through a scary and dark time in her life. This could be because of the lose of her family and her grandson. Also because she has to go to town and her age is a struggle for her and it is scary for her to go to town. Her age is also a result of losing her sight and thus she can’t see where she is going. That can be a scary thought. 10. In the story eyes represent direction. They are her only way of getting to town and getting the medicine. The fact that she is losing her sight is not a good sign for Phoenix because she needs them to get to town to get the medication. The barbed wire...
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