8 September 04
"A Worn Path"
"A Worn Path" is, in my opinion, a very good story. It tells of an old black woman and the struggles she's had to deal with throughout her life. The author names the woman Phoenix after a mythological bird that died and then came back to life through its ashes which makes it immortal. The author makes the woman "immortal" because she continues to have something to live for, her grandson, whom she apparently considers her biggest gift.
The author never says exactly how often the woman makes the journey, but we know she's made it before because the attendants knew who she was when she came in the building. It is a very long trip because the hunter even said that he only goes into town when he is sick, and tells Phoenix to go home. This makes the woman very admirable in that she would continue to make this trip for her grandson who she doesn't even know is alive or not. She is very determined and stubborn during her walk.
The journey she takes in this story represents her role in life. She is an old black lady living in a white society with no education. Many things make this journey very tough: it is very cold, the path is uphill, and the woman is very old. The trip she makes shows just how determined the woman is to make it through life. Whether or not her grandson was dead or alive, to me, does not have much effect on the story. Either way, the woman making the trip for him shows her devotion to him and how much she loves him dead or alive. At times in the story, the woman seems very confused. When she mistakes the scarecrow for a ghost, when she thought the thorn bush was a green bush, and not knowing whether or not her grandson is alive indicate confusion. The dialogue between Phoenix and the nurse certainly indicates confusion or forgetfulness. At first she doesn't respond to the attendant. However, once she realizes why she is where she is, her love and devotion to her grandson...