Eudoa Welty's "A Worn Path" Obstacles

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Anna Grace Walker
Dr. Bishop
19 May 2010

In Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path,” the main character, Phoenix Jackson, faces several different obstacles throughout the story. The older black woman is venturing far away from her home to fetch her sick grandson’s medicine. Phoenix has to deal with rude people and overgrown nature trails the entire way. Although Phoenix is well into her years, she overcomes the insulting individuals and the nature obstacles that she encounters.

Phoenix does not let her age stop her from completing the long walk. Although it is not revealed, she shows her age when she mistakes a scarecrow as a ghost and states, “My senses is gone. I too old! I the oldest person I ever know” (646). Phoenix knows she is too old to be making this journey, but she does not stop. She is in no condition to be making long difficult trips. When she finally arrives into town, she even has to stop a lady and ask “Please missy, will you lace up my shoe […] can’t lace it with a cane” (647). Her back is not strong enough to bend over and tie her own shoe. It cannot be well enough to make the long hike. Phoenix does not let her aged mind and worn body hold her back from successfully going to town.

Not only is Phoenix determined not to let her age stop her, she also refuses to listen to insults from others. The first man Phoenix comes in contact with quickly makes a rude comment. He encourages her to return home for her own safety. When Phoenix refuses, the hunter laughs and says, “I know you old colored people! Wouldn’t miss going to town to see Santa Claus” (647). The man instantly insults her race. Instead of taking offense, Phoenix does not let this bother her. Phoenix finally arrives to the doctor’s office to receive the medicine. Instead of a friendly greeting, Phoenix is referred to as a “charity case” by the attendant behind the desk (648). She does not become discouraged by the attendant’s harsh words. Instead, she collects the medicine from...
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