A Worn Path: Literary Analysis

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Literary Analysis

Arising out of the ashes the phoenix came back to life again. In Greek mythology the phoenix is the symbol for idealism and hope. It falls only to arise and live again. The main character of Eudora Welty's short story, "A Worn Path", is much like this phoenix. She must overcome much adversity on her life path. Eudora Welty in "A Worn Path" uses the idea of the phoenix to characterize and symbolize the indomitable spirit of the main character, Phoenix Jackson, who though old, weak, and forgetful can conquer obstacles put in her way as she heads toward her goal.

Spirit - Phoenix Jackson, a determined woman, never gave up even in the hardest times. Jackson knew she had to complete the journey for her ill grandson. During her journey she even talked smart to a white hunter in the area. The hunter asked her what she was doing in the ditch. Phoenix answered, "Lying on my back like a June bug waiting to be turned over, mister, she said, reaching up her hand." (Welty, 282) The hunter symbolizing all other white people told her to stay home where she was safer. After the Civil War, black people where supposed to be segregated from the white people.

Obstacles - Phoenix Jackson persevered through all of the obstacles in front of her reaching the city. Traversing the log across the creek, to fighting her way threw the thorns were just two of the many obstacles Jackson faced during her treacherous journey. She knew to avoid the area where the alligators hid. Jackson listened to the bubbles that they made with their nose. Climbing under a fence on her way, the barbed wire caught at her clothes, holding her back.

Symbolism – Eudora Welty uses symbolism throughout the story. When Phoenix sat on the shore of the creek, she envisioned a young boy with a piece of cake for her. As she reached for it, the cake vanished. The marble cake symbolizes the segregation between black and white people and how she wanted equality. The...
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