The Worn Path Essay

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"A Worn Path" is a story that explains the natural symbolisms of the surroundings. As the story begins, we are introduced to Phoenix Jackson; she is described as a small, old Negro woman. I believe Phoenix Jackson’s name is very symbolic. The legend of the Phoenix is about a sacred bird of ancient Egyptians. The bird is said to come out of Arabia every 500 years to Heliopolis, where it burned itself on the altar and rose again from its ashes, young and beautiful. Phoenix, the women in the story, represents the myth of the bird because she is described as being elderly and near the end of her life. Phoenix can hardly walk and uses a cane made of an old umbrella to aid her. Her skin is described as old and wrinkly, but yet with a golden color running beneath it "Her skin had a pattern all its own of numberless branching wrinkles and as though a whole little tree stood in the middle of her forehead, but a golden color ran underneath"(469). Her skin tone represents the golden feathers of the Phoenix and her grandson represents the next Phoenix that will be given life when she dies. The trip to the city to get the medicine represents the mythological trip that the Phoenix takes to the sun to die. Most likely this journey along a worn path through the woods will be one of her last. The story tells us of Phoenix's journey into the woods on a cold December morning. Although we know that she is traveling through woodland, the author doesn’t ever explain the reason for this journey. During Phoenix's travels, the author describes the scene: "Deep, deep the road went down between the high green-colored banks. Overhead the live-oaks met and it was as dark as a cave" (Welty 472). The gloomy darkness that the author has created in this scene seems quite opposite to the positive outlook and determination that Phoenix Jackson has as a woman. As Phoenix begins to walk down the dark path, a black dog approaches her. As he comes toward her, Phoenix is startled and determined to...
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