Symbolism of the Journey

Topics: Eudora Welty, A Worn Path, Short story Pages: 7 (3064 words) Published: February 18, 2013
Running head: Symbolism

Symbolism of the Journey

Symbolism is an important aspect of literary works because through it the craftsman of the work is able to communicate his views and ideas which might not be apparent from the work unless thought upon from a critical angle. Through the course of this paper, I intend to analyze and compare the symbolism in two masterpieces namely Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path” and Robert Frost’s “A Road Not Taken”. The reason for selecting these two works of art is because they demonstrate the depth and a variety of literary elements including Style, Form and Content which would form the centerpiece of my analysis. A Worn Path, one of Eudora Welty’s masterpieces is a story of resilience, will and determination. The story ponders on the importance of the said elements in achieving success in life. Welty was born in Jackson, Mississippi in 1909, being an exceptional student, graduated from the University of Wisconsin majoring in Literature and English. Her initial career choice led her into becoming a journalist however; she soon realized her potential as a writer on human behavior. Her writing style is greatly admired and as a result, she was awarded the Pulitzer Award in 1972 for her fictional story titled “The Optimist’s Daughter”. In addition, she has also won various other awards including two American Book Awards and many O Henry awards. Her writing domain extended to include plays and poems to children books (Gale, 2002). Through the Worn Path, the author has been able to convey the story of an old African American woman who has faced many hardships in life. The literature is loaded with literary elements including symbols which help Welty convey her point of view to the reader. The woman’s life is a depiction of heroism and sacrifice and is a demonstration of how hardships can

be dealt with in life. In her work we see various themes including the sense of taking up responsibility and the characteristics of a determined and strong willed individual. At the time Welty composed her work, Jackson was a place riddled with racial profiling and discrimination and therefore as a result, her work demonstrates aspects of racism as well (Skyes, 1998). The star of her story is a woman named Phoenix Jackson, an old black woman living in a town full of white people. The story focuses on her journey to town which she makes in order to get medicines for her grandson. During her path, the woman encounters various problems including physical obstacles like trees, bushes and small animals. These obstacles try to block her path but she is persistent in her approach and determined in her will and manages to waive off all obstacles through the use of her umbrella. Through the course of the story we find out that this is not her first voyage in fact she has made voyages like such many times before in the past; although her will is strong but age has made her senses weak and given her a poor eyesight (Clugston, 2010).

Jackson has a vivid imagination as we see her imagining various outrageous themes and emotions throughout the story, for instance, we see her thinking about food and waltzing with a scarecrow. In addition, she also runs into a hunter in the woods who passes racial comments to Jackson. The Exposition of the story comes into view at the end of the story when we see that Jackson finally reaches the pharmacy to get the medicine; at that very moment we find out that Jackson’s grandson is dead; the old Negro woman is still in the phase of denial and does not wish to accept her grandson’s death. We see her not only getting the medicines for him but she came to town to buy a toy windmill for her grandson. The tale is highly tragic yet it defines the importance of purpose in life which drives us to achieve more than we are actually capable of. The story ends with Jackson’s last words which demonstrate the love she had for her grandson.

Her love is so pure that...
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