Eudora Welty's A Worn Path: Phoenix's Trip to the Local Town

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The short story “The Worn Path” written by Eudora Welty is about an old Black woman’s trip into to the local town. The woman’s name is Phoenix and she is going to town to get medicine for her sick grandson. However, as she travels along the path Phoenix encounters several obstacles that show that along with her old age and deteriorating body her mind is slipping away from her as well. Phoenix is an elderly black woman who is charged with the task of taking the long trip through the woods and in to town. She is the only caretaker for her grandson and even though her senses and her body are starting to fail her she is still willing to take the risk. In the first part of the story Phoenix gets caught up in a thorn bush and it is not clear at first why she allowed herself to get as close to the bush as she did, but you are eventually brought to realize that her eyes are the betrayer. “I in the thorny bush,” she said. Thorns you doing your appointed work. Never want to let folks pass, no sir. Old eyes thought you was a pretty little green bush” (1). This is just one of many examples of how her body along with her senses is slowly drifting away from her. While Phoenix is walking along on her journey in to the town she stops to take a break on the bank. Even though she does not chose to take a nap she still somehow manages to drift off into what some may consider and dream, or a warped sense of reality. “She did not dare to close her eyes, and when a little boy brought her a plate with a slice of marble-cake on it she spoke to him. “ That would be acceptable,” she said. But when she went to take it there was just her own hand in the air” (2). It seems that the stresses of the journey along with the deteoration of her body due to old age are taking a toll on Phoenix. As Phoenix is walking through a field she spots a figure in the distance that appears to be dancing in the wind. The first thought that comes to her mind is that it is either a man or a ghost but she soon...
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