A Worn Path (Symbolism)

Topics: Eudora Welty, A Worn Path, Death Pages: 3 (1093 words) Published: June 28, 2008
Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path" is a short story that places a tremendous amount of emphasis on the natural symbolism of the setting. Welty incorporates her love for fairy tales is this story by creating mythic characters that seem larger than life, characters like Phoenix Jackson who seem to connect with the surroundings (Randisi 31). The main character, Phoenix Jackson, is an old Negro woman whose goal throughout the story is to find medicine for her sick grandson, who swallowed lye and sometimes experience difficulties swallowing. While Phoenix is undertaking her long journey, the scenery that surrounds her is full of symbolism, symbolism that gives us insight into Phoenix's character, the hardships that are associated with her old age, and the poverty that surrounds her. Eudora Welty brings realism into the story by describing the trials that come with old age. The path that she travels through, are filled with pine trees that cast dark shadows throughout the ground. The darkness that surrounds Phoenix is the total opposite of her. Even though Phoenix is a poor woman, she is quite groomed and tidy. Although she is old, she has extremely dark hair, wears a red bandanna, and has much "life" within her: "Her skin had a pattern of numberless branching wrinkles and as though a whole little tree stood in the middle of her forehead, but a golden color ran underneath, and the two knobs of her cheeks were illumined by a yellow burning under the bark". (Welty paragraph 2). Throughout the story Welty portrays Phoenix as one with her surroundings. Phoenix Jackson is a vibrant person, willing to go through the trials of the long arduous journey for someone she cares about. Although Phoenix is a vibrant individual, one most not forget that she is also old. Eudora Welty reminds us of this with her comment "Under the red rag her hair came down on her neck in the frailest of ringlets, still black, and with an odor like copper" (Welty paragraph 2). The copper smell of her hair...
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