A Worn Path By Eudora Welty Essay

A Worn Path By Eudora Welty Essay

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“A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty is a short fictional story first published in The Atlantic Monthly in February 1941. Welty was an American short-story writer and novelist. Welty was a photographer before she started writing so her stories were as detailed as her photographs. Some reccurring themes she used in her literary pieces were social prejudice, isolation, and southern living. This short story includes these common themes she favored throughout her works. There are multiple themes in this fictional story. Some themes presented in this story include racism, family, and responsibility. The most prominent theme is the age and perseverance, because the protagonist is predisposed to failure given her age but her tenacity keeps her going.
“A Worn Path” tells a story about a courageous elderly African American woman named Phoenix Jackson. Phoenix endangers her life to get a charity medicine for her grandson, who is unable to fully heal because of a lye accident. She walks an old worn path called the Old Natchez Trace to the city of Natchez in Mississippi. She goes through a series of obstacles on the long journey on a cold December morning.
As the reader gets into the story it is apparent that this is not the first time she has made this trip to the city. Phoenix runs into a hunter, who she steals a nickel that drops out of his pocket, because her poverty drives her. This is foreshadowing for good things to come. When the beginning the reader does not know why she is making the trip because it is not revealed until the end. Once she reaches her destination she temporarily forgets why she made the journey in the first place, until reminded by a nurse. She is given the charity medicine and a nickel for the holidays. The story ends on...


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...seems reinvents herself every time she has to make that trip back home.
The fact that the symbolism and this overall implied theme of “A Worn Path” collaborate so well together shows the depth of Welty’s writing style. Although the story is simple execution the meaning is timeless. Her repeated journeys reflect the lifetimes she has endured traveling to Natchez. “Phoenix 's rising out of the over-determination of this culture, as her name implies, is what the reader comes to appreciate.” (Dilgren, 2014) She is determined and persevering like a phoenix. She must deal with poverty, the pains of old age, and racial prejudice to care for her grandson with a scarred throat. The phoenix ties into the ageism as well because the phoenix is an old bird, but fierce, just the like character. The occasional journey on the Natchez Trace is only a small part of her complex story.

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