Eng125 Introduction to Literature
September 10, 2012
A Worn Path
“A Worn Path” is a metaphor for the life of Phoenix Jackson. The “path” is not only worn because of Phoenix’s repeated travels across, it also symbolizes the path of the poor and oppressed. One of the many characterizations in the story starts with Phoenix herself. The mythical bird, the phoenix symbolizes rebirth, resurrection, immortality. When its lifespan ends it sets itself into flames and rises again from the ashes. This name could not be more suitable this character, Phoenix has a profound strength and dignity about her that empowers her to rise above the adversities she faced; from racism, to poverty in order to take care of her grandson. Overcoming those obstacles feeds her desire to love and care of her grandson. It also influences the next generation; her grandson to have the same selfless love and care, and influences a rise above racism. The character Phoenix represents two significant themes in this story. The first is sacrificial love, her unwavering determination to help her grandson. The second is racism one of the obstacles in the way of her getting that help. The setting in “A Worn Path” is an essential part of the story’s structure as a result of the age of the story’s main character Phoenix, hardship, and social limitations of those times. The social setting helps the reader become aware of the theme. Welty uses the social setting to create conflict, man versus woman, black versus white, young versus old. Mississippi in the 1940s was used as the physical setting. This is where Phoenix on a cold December morning sets out on her journey to the nearby town of Natchez, a very appropriate location for the type of conflicts presented in the story for those times. Mississippi as with other states in the south was known to have racial turmoil adding realism to the story. In the story the conflict of person vs. person man -woman,...