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You are watching: What does the title “a worn path” by eudora welty tell you about the journey phoenix is making?

Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path" was released in 1941. It has actually attracted a the majority of attention and has been frequently anthologized.

The brief story, just under 3,300 words, is that Phoenix Jackson's daunting journey through the Mississippi backcountry into the city.

This article starts v a review then looks at themes, symbolism and also the title.


Plot an overview of "A Worn Path"

On very early December morning, an old African-American woman, Phoenix Jackson, walks gradually through the forest. Her shoelaces are untied, and also she taps the ground through a cane.

She calls the end to the pets to stay out of her way, and hits the bushes v her cane. She complies with the path up a hill and down the various other side. Her dress gets captured on a bush.

She reaches a creek. A log serves together the bridge. She manages to cross it. She sits under on the financial institution to rest. She imagines a little boy offering her a piece of cake.

Phoenix proceeds through a barbed cable fence and throughout a field. She's happy there space no bulls out. She walks on through a corn ar with stalks taller than she is. There's a ghostly figure that turns out to be a scarecrow.

She get a wagon track, which provides for simpler travel. She passes fields, trees and cabins.

She stops because that a drink in a ravine through a spring. The monitor goes into a declining road. The trees meet overhead, making that dark favor a cave. A black dog comes out of the ditch and also approaches her. Startled, she access time it lightly v her cane. She drops into the ditch.

She can't acquire up. Eventually, a young white man with a dog wake up upon her. He's the end hunting. He helps she up. That asks she a few questions and tells her to walk home. While they talk, she watch a nickel autumn out of his pocket. She comment on the black color dog that surprised her.

The hunter sics his dog ~ above it. The dogs fight. The hunter operation after them. There's a gunshot. Meanwhile, Phoenix choose up the nickel and also puts it in she pocket.

The man comes back. He points his gun at Phoenix and also asks if the scares her. She states no. The smiles and also again advises her to walk home. She claims she has to go on.

They part ways. She hears the gun go off a couple of more times. She emerges from the tree-covered road into Natchez. There are green and red lights strung increase in the city for Christmas.

A lady walks surrounding with an armful the presents. Phoenix asks if she would certainly lace up her shoes because that her. Having them undone won't look ideal in the city. The lady obliges.

Phoenix enters a huge building and announces herself. The attendant asks her some questions, but Phoenix doesn't answer. A nurse enters and recognizes her. She speak Phoenix come sit down. She asks if the medicine has actually helped her grandson's throat. Phoenix simply stares directly ahead there is no answering.

Phoenix snaps out of she reverie. She had actually forgotten the function of her trip. She grandson's throat is still bad. The swallowed lye 2 or three years ago. She's come to get his medicine.

She speak a bit about her grandson. They're through themselves.

The nurse bring the medicine, marked "Charity." The attendant offers Phoenix a nickel for Christmas. She looks in ~ both her nickels and has an idea. She's going to walk buy her grandson a little document windmill. She leaves the doctor's office.

Theme: Perseverance

Phoenix Jackson perseveres v her problems with she environment and people, including herself.


There are many environmental elements that do the expedition difficult:

It's December—it's cold and also there's eye down.It's a lengthy walk v the woods, v uneven terrain and sometimes uphill.There's a thorny bush that catches her skirt.To overcome a stream, she needs to balance on a log.She has to crawl v a barbed-wire fence.There are animals in the forest; she gets startled by a dog and also falls into a ditch.

Phoenix keeps going regardless of the herbal obstacles. She travels at her very own pace, resting if needed, until she succeeds.


Phonenix Jackson perseveres v her dealings with various other people:

The hunter tells she the town is too far away. He twice tells her to go home.He trivializes her trip, suspect she's walk to view Santa Claus.He describes her by the casual "Granny".He points his total at she for his amusement.The woman who ties Phoenix's pair of shoes calls her "Grandma".The staff at the doctor's refer to Phoenix as "Grandma" and also "Aunt Phoenix". Every person she has interacted with has addressed she casually rather than through a much more respectful title, like "ma'am" or "Mrs. Jackson".They present impatience with her lessened abilities, and also scold her for acquisition up their time.

Phoenix copes with every one of these slights as she keeps her eye top top completing she trip.


Phoenix perseveres through her very own limitations:

She's really old, probably 80 at the least.She offers a cane.She needs to do the bulk of the pilgrimage with her shoes untied; presumably, she to be unable to tie lock herself before leaving home.Her sight isn't sharp.Her psychic wanders come the point of hallucination while she rests on the bank.She as well frail to gain up top top her own after falling into the ditch.When she reaches the doctor's office, she has forgotten why she came.

Phoenix's long, difficult journey is every the an ext arduous because of her age, frailty and diminished senses.

1. What is the symbolic meaning of the protagonist's name?

The protagonist's name, Phoenix, obviously has some symbolic meaning.

The phoenix is a mythological bird associated with fire, recognized for increasing from its very own ashes, gift reborn or resurrected. It might be claimed that Phoenix Jackson figuratively dies after each effective trip as result of the initiative involved. She then figuratively rises every time she has to make her daunting trip again.

This comparison is sustained in the text:

Her coloring is warm— her head is tied with a red rag, a "golden color underneath" her skin, and also there's a "yellow burning" under she cheeks.Her hair has actually "an odor choose copper", one more color saying warmth.Her tapping cane is prefer the chirping of a bird.Phoenix likens her grandson come "a little bird".

2. Is the location symbolic?

In fiction, a trip is often seen together a parallel because that the figurative journey of life.

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Phoenix Jackson supplies a worn path for her expedition to the city. It's noteworthy, though, that being worn isn't the very same as gift smooth. The path she to walk is very difficult. Similarly, a person might be life in "a worn path", the is, going with the same routine over and also over. This doesn't average their life is easy. Phoenix's journey to the city could be symbolic of her life's journey, i beg your pardon would have been filled with obstacles as well.