A Heroic Journey of Love
The protagonist of Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path" is Phoenix Jackson. Phoenix is a poor, elderly, African-American woman whose overwhelming love for her only grandson drives her to overcome many obstacles throughout the story. Along her journey, Phoenix's character is revealed to be humorous and in touch with nature, determined and willing to go the distance, and extremely prideful of her appearance and her family.
Throughout "A Worn Path," Phoenix exudes a unique, slightly sarcastic sense of humor. Phoenix's sarcasm is first revealed when she encounters the hunter along the path. When asked by the hunter what she was doing, Phoenix responds by saying "Lying on my back like a junebug waiting to be turned over, mister (140, paragraph 40)." Phoenix's character is also very in touch with nature and her surroundings. She demonstrates this by speaking to many animals along her journey, some which include a buzzard, some quail, an alligator, and the hunter's black dog. "Sleep on, alligators, and blow your bubbles (140, paragraph 30)." Phoenix also charms the quail of the thicket by telling them to "Walk pretty (140, paragraph 30)." Despite her old age and fragility, Phoenix still manages to make her journey amusing with her humorous disposition.
The intense love and sense of responsibility Phoenix feels for her grandson, supplies her inspiring determination. Phoenix's courage and tenacity are illustrated repeatedly as she faces crisis after crisis during her journey- the cold December temperature, the thorny bushes, the hunter's gun, the barbed-wire fences, and her failing physical health. Phoenix uses her common sense, wit, and courage to overcome these obstacles. During her encounter with the hunter, he tells her to go on home, that town is too far. She simply responds by saying, " I bound to go to town, mister (141, paragraph 45)." Nothing seems to stand in Phoenix's way of reaching her goal and obtaining medicine for her...
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