Themes of a Worn Path

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Themes of AWorn Path
John Novotny
English Literature 125
Melissa Eidson
8 April 2012

The text feels the theme of the story A Worn Path is about sacrificial love. I believe that while short, the story has multiple themes. I believe another theme is the era of the story itself. Not enslaved, not free. The story examines a woman who was alive at the "surrender", now living in what seems the 1930's. She is a lasting symbol of an era 65 years removed. The name the woman Phoenix (the symbol of resurrection) indicates a theme of her constantly battling against the world on a daily basis.

I believe the genius of this story is that the author writes herself out of the story. A majority of the information is passed through Phoenix's speech. I believe it allowed the story to contain multiple themes. Her speaking to herself pushes the theme of single minded purpose, devotion to her grandson. Phoenix is the last living relative to a 4-6 year old boy, a boy who I think is the only thing keeping Phoenix alive.

A second theme religion, is evident in her thoughts of God as she picks up the hunter's nickel. The Christmas season is mentioned multiple times also. She also thanks the lord his snakes are holed up in the winter, as she recalls seeing a two headed snake around a tree in the summer.

Racism is evident any time Phoenix interacts with other characters. The hunter marginalizes her journey and points a weapon at her. The nurse assumes she is a charity cases as soon as Phoenix enters the clinic.

As I stated above, I believe the author using a third person limited point of view and letting Phoenix tell a majority of her own story allows multiple themes to be intertwined. Once other characters interact with Phoenix, you involve another theme i.e. racism or religion.

The story uses the settings to establish points of the themes found in the story. The season is winter and it is bitterly cold outside, yet Phoenix making the journey like clockwork helps...
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