Exploring "A Worn Path"

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Exploring “A Worn Path”
Betty Tanner
ENG125: Introduction to Literature
Instructor: Melissa Edison
December 3, 2012

Exploring “A Worn Path”
In “A Worn Path” Phoenix Jackson travels to Natchez, yearly to get medicine for her grandson and regardless of her age and obstacles, she is determined to complete her quest. It is not until later in the story we learn the purpose of Phoenix’s Journey to Natchez. Eudora Welty’s use of symbolism is also represented through the characters names, appearance and language as Phoenix travels along her way to Natchez through the woods of Mississippi. The theme of “A Worn Path is undeniably a journey of love for her grandson and in spite of her age and difficulty to complete the journey; she is determined to accomplish her goals to obtain medicine for him, since “we know the theme in a story is a representation of the idea behind the story” (Clugston, R. W., 2010), we can surmise Phoenix will do anything to take care of her grandson. Eudora Welty wrote, “A Worn Path” from a first person point of view, by telling the story in a narrative style from the author’s perspective, encompassing symbolism to hint at the story’s theme throughout Phoenix’s travels. Because, “symbolism is something that has a literal identity, but also stands for something else” (Clugston, R. W., 2010), We can see this first, through the primary character’s name, Phoenix Jackson because, “The Phoenix symbolizes rebirth” (Gill, N. 2011), which is symbolic of the strength and determination of the old woman to reach her destination in spite of her elderly and small body. As Phoenix journeys along the narrative is of the country in an earlier era, The time frame becomes clear by the hunter’s attitude toward Phoenix. Although, he helps her out of the ditch, the hunters attitude toward her shows signs of an earlier time when Negros were not treated as equal to white people further solidifying the setting of the story. The Characters personality sets...
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