The Motivation of Love in “a Worn Path” by Eudora Welty

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Love is a very powerful and compelling feeling. It may lead people to act in ways that they never have before and to move people to overcome and accomplish tasks that would otherwise seem impossible. Sophocles once stated, “One word frees us all of the weight and pain of life: That word is love.” This statement is the underlying factor that motivates the main character in Eudora Welty’s short story, “A Worn Path.” The story portrays an elderly woman’s journey to the city during a frozen day in December to obtain medicine for her grandson’s chronically sore throat. Welty uses strong symbolism throughout the story to depict just how influential love can be.

From the beginning, Welty reiterates the fact that Phoenix, the elderly grandmother, is very old and poor. Phoenix is very small and fragile, walks very slowly and uses a thin cane while striving not to fall with every step she takes, has an apron made of sugar sacks, and many wrinkles embedded on her face. Welty also hints to the reader that the grandmother has very weak eyesight, possibly cataracts disease. Phoenix even mistakes a scarecrow for a man dancing in the field and laughs while saying, “‘My senses is gone. I too old. I the oldest people I ever know…’” (802). After presented with these facts, one may be skeptical of Phoenix completing even half of the journey since elderly people are usually associated with words like slow, weak, and inactive. Phoenix, however, contradicts the accepted image of a typical grandmother. Instead, Phoenix’s characteristics consist of being active, strong, and full of desire. The only motivating factor that ignites these characteristics in her is the love for her grandson. She has the mindset that she will endure any obstacle in order to obtain medicine just so her grandson can live with the least pain possible. As she finally begins her journey, Phoenix experiences many obstacles that force her to show her inner strength.

Every stage of Phoenix’s...
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