It explores a number of themes through the simple story of an elderly black woman in s Mississippi, walking along an arduous path to town to collect medicine for her grandson.
Deceptively simple in tone and scope, the story is structured upon a journey motif that incorporates a rich texture of symbolic meaning. As she walks, she struggles against intense fatigue and poor eyesight, as well as such obstacles as thorn bushes and barbed wire.
The combined effects of her old age, her poor vision, and her poetic view of the world heighten the lyricism and symbolism of the narrative. For example, she mistakes a scarecrow for a dancing "ghost" until she draws close enough to touch its empty sleeve.
A particularly tense episode occurs when she encounters a white hunter who appears friendly at first, but then makes a condescending suggestion that she is probably "going to town to see Santa Claus.
The hunter suddenly points his gun at her, and while he may have seen her pick up the nickel, it is unclear what his actual motivation is for this threatening gesture.
Phoenix, however, does not appear afraid; the hunter lowers his gun and she manages to continue on her way unharmed and without returning the nickel. Finally reaching the "shining" city of Natchez, Phoenix enters the "big building"—presumably a hospital—where a nurse questions her about her grandson, asking if he has died.
She then apologizes, claiming that her memory had suddenly failed her—that for a moment, she could not remember why she had made her long journey.
She declares that he is not dead, receives the medicine for him, along with another nickel, with which she decides to buy him a Christmas present—a "little windmill.
Commentators have noted that her sheer fortitude in making the long journey on foot and alone points to these qualities, as does the mythological significance of her name, Phoenix—an Egyptian bird symbolizing resurrection.
Christian symbolism is also apparent in the narrative. Because the story is completely free of authorial intrusion or explanatory commentary, the images and events that occur in the narrative remain open to a variety of reader interpretations.
Frank Ardolino argued for a conflation of mythological and Christian interpretations of the work, showing how "along with the Christian motifs of rebirth, the cycles of natural imagery presented create the theme of life emerging from death. William Jones commented in that "[t]he main reason that Miss Welty chose a Negro seems to be that only a relatively simple, uncivilized individual is worthy of representing the powerful forces which inspires such love as hers for her grandchild.
Cooley, in contrast, argued for a broader social reading of the story, criticizing the sentiment of the work and accusing Welty of failing to "develop her racial portraits with sufficient sensitivity or depth.
Jones review date Short Story Criticism.Literary Analysis: "A Worn Path" Essay Words 7 Pages In “A Worn Path” colors are used to emphasize the depth and breadth of the story, and to reinforce the parallel images of the mythical phoenix and the protagonist Phoenix Jackson. - A Worn Path A Worn Path is a frequently studied short story written by Eudora Welty in This story is structured upon the journey of an old black Negro woman from her home to the city of Natchez to get the medicine for her grandson.
Natchez TraceFor a scenic stroll along a path that was once used by Native Americans, explorers, workers, traders, famous historical figures, and vagabonds of all kind, lace up your sneakers and ch Phoenix may be a crazy old woman—she may be locked in a cycle of futile journeys to and from town.
Phoenix is the protagonist in Eudora Welty’s story “A Worn Path. Throughout time, people have gone on their own journeys, traveling rocky roads, climbing mountains while overcoming obstacles along the way; while grasping on .
A Worn Path Essay Eudora Welty This Study Guide consists of approximately 41 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A Worn Path.
The story, “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty is one of the most significant and frequently studied works of short fiction. This story is taken place in the South. This region is often characterized by their speech and habits.