Short Story Essay
June 28, 2012
“A Worn Path”, An Old Friend
There are five elements to a story: characterization, theme, setting, plot, and point of view. Each of the elements are a part of every story, but some may play a more important role in the telling of each individual tale. The setting is the most prevalent element in Eudora Welty’s short story, “A Worn Path.” The setting is more than just the location of the story, but it also sets the social setting as well as the mood or atmosphere. The setting in “A Worn Path” is significant in that not only does it give the story life it also helps the reader understand Phoenix Jackson’s reasoning as well as giving the reader a vivid description of what the characters are seeing. Eudora Welty gives “A Worn Path” life not only through her characters, but mainly through her description of the setting. She opens up her story by describing a “bright frozen day” in December. The reader soon learns that the main character, Phoenix Jackson, is making her way to town along a path through the pinewoods. The constant imagery and symbolism keeps fresh visualization in the mind of the reader. Throughout the rest of the story, Welty continues to give precise descriptions of every part of the surroundings. As Phoenix Jackson made her way through a field of dead corn, Welty brings the setting to life, as she says, “It whispered and shook and was taller than her head.” Without the extreme details of what is going on around the characters, the story would be a bore. From the beginning, it was apparent that Phoenix Jackson was not in very good health. Welty describes her as “very old and small and she walked slowly… she carried a thin, small cane made from an umbrella, and with this she kept tapping the frozen earth in front of her.” Phoenix Jackson has made this trip a number of times, and she uses her surroundings to find her way. The setting, the path, can be compared to an old well-known friend helping her...
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