Theme and Narrative Elements
Introduction to Literature
Professor Heather Peerboom
31 August 2014
The literary definition of a phoenix is a mythical bird that in its lifetime burns up in flames and regenerates (Lester 2007). This is just one form of symbolism in Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path.” In this short story, Phoenix is an old African American grandmother. She embarks on an obstacle filled journey into Natchez to acquire medicine for her ill grandson. I will also be showing you two other literary terms in the story, which are plot and character. When Welty utilizes symbolism, plot and character; I will show you why love is the theme for “A Worn Path.”
In Welty’s “A Worn Path,” Phoenix Jackson is the main character. Phoenix is a small elderly woman who was nearly blind. Welty made Phoenix an extremely resilient character. “Seem like there is chains about my feet, time I get this far,” (Clugston 2014) which means she was probably a slave at one point. From that quote you can also tell that Phoenix is uneducated. Phoenix went through woods, thorn bushes, a river crossing, almost attacked by a dog and a threatening hunter. Phoenix went through all these obstacles to retrieve medicine for her ailing grandson. This is not the first time she has done this; the title itself tells shows that. Welty shows us that even if Phoenix was an old elderly woman, faced with certain obstacles; that she will not be stopped to help her ill grandson. Welty gave Phoenix that never “give up” attitude that most individuals do not have. Phoenix will not be stopped no matter what the problem is. This is the reason why character makes love the main theme for “A Worn Path.” The name Phoenix symbolizes the quality of person she is. Love also accounts for Phoenix’s courage, making it natural and unconscious, simply necessary rather than extraordinary (Lester 2007). I agree with Lester when she stated that due to...
References: Clugston, R. W. (2014). Journey into literature (2nd ed.). San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
Lister, R. (2007). Literary Contexts in Short Stories: Eudora Welty 's "A Worn Path". Literary Contexts In Short Stories Collections: Eudora Welty 's 'A Worn Path ', 1
Piwinski, D.J. (2003). Mistletoe in Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path.” .Anq, 16(1), 40-42
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