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The Elements of Short Story: A Worn Path

Laura Logan

ENG125: Introduction to Literature (AFG1301A)

Instructor: Carla McGill

January 14, 2013

Can you tell me what the word theme means in a short story? According to Clugston (2010) The theme in a piece of literature is not a summary of the plot; it is not a statement about a dominant impression or mood; it is not a moral or proposition; it is not the attitude of the writer. The theme in a story is associated with an idea that lies behind the story. (p.126). The name of the short story normally points to what the writer is saying. The other elements of the story include the plot, setting, point of view, tone, character, and symbolism. There are several themes from the short story “ A Worn Path” to include love and racism. The story is presented in the third person point of view; the setting is in southwestern Mississippi; the plot has a beginning, middle, end; and the symbolism is in the name of Phoenix.

There are several theme throughout this short story, one being racism the Phoenix had to endure on her journey to get medication for her grandson. Phoenix was first helped out of a ditch she fell into and then stuck a shotgun in her face. The most obvious theme in this story is the love a grandmother (Phoenix) have for her grandson. Phoenix Jackson was an old frail black women who felt an obligation of taking care of her grandson because she was all the family he had. According to Gale (2002) A minor theme in "A Worn Path" concerns guilt and innocence. Phoenix feels guilty when she picks up the nickel that falls from the pocket of the white hunter. She indicates in her words to the hunter that she believes that she deserves to be shot for the offense: "I seen plenty go off closer by, in my day, and for less than what I done." (p. 4) The title it self indicates that Phoenix had perseverance and hope base on the number of times she had to make...
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