Phoenix Jackson In Eudora Welty's A Worn Path

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In mythology the Phoenix is a long-lived bird that is reborn by arising from the ashes from its predecessors. A symbol of undying toughness, it is of little doubt why Eudora Welty decided to name the protagonist of her short story “A Worn Path” in its image. Phoenix Jackson shows an incredible toughness to continue through the obstacles on the path she walks, which act as a symbol of the struggles an “old Negro woman” would have faced during the 1930s in the South, an area afflicted with the Great Depression and residual racism and oppression (333). In her short story “A Worn Path” Welty uses the changing settings of the worn path entrance, the deep trail through the forest, and the town at the end of the path to reveal more about Phoenix Jackson’s character. Although the path is dangerous and full of obstacles, Phoenix slowly makes her way over the hill symbolizing her determination to succeed in her journey. In the beginning of the story the narrator initially describes Phoenix as being located in a thicket, however she quickly finds that “the path ran up a hill” (334). This obstacle is the first of many that Phoenix must overcome. Phoenix muses that it “seem like there is chains about my feet” and that “something always take a hold of [her] on this hill” as she climbs the hill, and Welty uses this hill as a very literal symbol for…show more content…
Phoenix’s perception of her environment increases the importance of her actions, when she conquers the hill, when she moves past the hunter in the dark glade, and when she enters the Christmas town, all help broadcast of all Phoenix’s resilience, strength of character and selflessness respectively. Phoenix herself is a symbol of moving forward through adversity against all odds, which is reflected by the environments she traverses through the

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