Life is a series of journeys that lead to experiences. Those experiences shape individuals and the perceptions of others. People relate to literature in different ways depending on their life experiences. Symbolism often effects how one relates to a piece they have heard or read. Symbolism is something that has a literal identity but also stands for something else—something that is widely understood and had been developed over a long period of time or by common agreement (Clugston 2010). In literature a journey of any kind usually symbolizes life. Living is individual to all people which mean that the interpretation is different for everyone. This paper will analyze the symbolism of the journey in Eudora Welty’s short story, “A Worn Path” and Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”. The symbolism of the journey in these two literary works is different. The main character in “A Worn Path”, Phoenix Jackson, is in the midst of a journey and the persona in “The Road Not Taken” is at a cross roads of two paths, one is a journey out of necessity and one a journey not yet taken. This paper will identify the differences in the symbolism of the journey in these two pieces with relation to the content, the form and the style, both different in many ways but both about a journey of life.
In the story “A Worn Path” the content is developed by many detailed descriptions of the main character and the setting in which she is travelling in on that cold December morning. In a review of her own work, Eudora Welty said that the story originated from her seeing a solitary old woman similar to Phoenix walking in a winter country landscape (Welty 1974, p.219). In the story she further develops the character by describing her as very old and small, wearing a long dress and an apron made of sugar sacks, her head tied with a red rag. This description gives the mind’s eye a clear picture of the person that Eudora saw on that winter day... [continues]
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