A Worn Path By Eudora Welty Essay

A Worn Path By Eudora Welty Essay

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While symbols are everywhere in the world, some are well known and others are unfamiliar. Like, in Eudora Welty’s vividly imaginative short story, “A Worn Path”, symbolism can be seen throughout. “A Worn Path” tells the tale of Phoenix Jackson-an African American woman-who deals with the oppression from whites during the mid-1900’s. Phoenix Jackson’s grandson has swallowed Lye and it is time for her to obtain his medicine from town. She begins her journey to town on a cold early morning in December. Phoenix dreads this year round journey because she is very old, partially blind, and can hardly walk without a cane. The author points out, “She carried a thin, small cane made from an umbrella and with this she kept tapping the frozen earth in front of her” (233). Phoenix begins the journey through the pinewoods and faces many obstacles but the love she has for grandson keeps her going. Needless to say, that the title of the story symbolizes Phoenix’s life. Thus, there are three types of symbols seen throughout the story the story: names, characters, and objects. These symbols communicate the theme that love is a motivator conquering any obstacle that gets in the way of helping a loved one.
Phoenix Jackson’s name which symbolizes the legend of the mythological phoenix bird is the first type of symbol seen in the story. A phoenix is mythological bird that turns to ashes upon dying and is born again from the ashes. It represents our capacity for vision, for collecting sensory information about our environment and the events unfolding within it. Phoenix Jackson uses her sensory information to get across the log in the pinewoods. The author notes, “Putting her right foot out, she mounted the log and shut her eyes. Lifting her skirt, lev...


... middle of paper ...


... finds herself back to reality.
The third type of symbol seen in the story is an object. Phoenix completes her journey and obtains medicine for her grandson. Earlier in the story, she risks stealing the hunter’s nickel that falls on the ground to buy her grandson something. With the money, Phoenix stops on the way home to buy her grandson a windmill. The windmill symbolizes the love she has for her grandson. Welty writes:
This is what comes to me to do, she said, I’ll go to the store and buy my child a little windmill they sells, made out of paper. He going to find it hard to believe there such thing in the world. I’ll march myself back where he waiting, holding it straight up in this hand (240).

Even though, Phoenix has had a long and hard journey she still stops and buys her grandson a windmill on the way home showing the unconditional love she has for him.

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