A Worn Path Summary

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There are several different interpretations of A Worn Path, by Eudora Welty. Some believe that it is a story about life and death or about strength. While others believe it is about the love that a grandmother has for her grandchild. Although I am not completely opposed to the opinions of others, it is clearly a story that demonstrates a theme of racial inequality and the struggles African Americans had to endure to obtain freedom. The path itself is a symbol that makes it apparent that this is a story about racism. There is also evidence in the appearance of the main character, Phoenix, a black woman who is wearing a red bandana, apron, and a striped dress. Lastly, the supporting characters in the story such as, the white hunter, the black children in Natchez, and the woman at the medical building also display signs of racial discrimination. Welty symbolically shows, through the determination of a black woman, that African Americans had to conquer numerous obstacles in order to complete the path to obtain freedom and racial equality. The path itself and the challenges old Phoenix faces on her journey into town is used to create a picture of what slaves went through in the south when this story took place. The path represents the roads that they had to walk on to escape from their owners to gain freedom. They had to face many problems and hardships along the way, which Welty displays by creating obstacles Phoenix has to endure. At one point the old woman has to climb a massive hill, in which she describes her climb as feeling like there are chains at her ankles. The fact that chains were used to describe her struggle up the hill is a clear indication that slaves were being referenced in this passage. There was also a part of the path that was described as “overhead the live-oaks met, and it was as dark as a cave” (267). This could be a description of the Underground Railroad, being cave-like. One last symbol in the path was the cotton field that...
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