Symbolism In Used To Live Here Once

Submitted By JOSANC2119
Words: 874
Pages: 4

Symbolism between Journeys
Josefa Sanchez
ENG 125- Introduction to Literature
Instructor Stacie Hankinson
May 20, 2013

The wonderful thing about reading literature is that every person can have a different meaning to what was read. The same piece of work can make it personally unique among its readers. There are many similarities between the literary works of “Used to live here once” (1976) by Jean Rhys and “The Worn Path” (1941) by Eudora Welty. Two different women, two different paths, yet toward the same destination. Just like every person in this world. Different people, different paths in our lives, as we travel inevitably to our death. In Rhys’s “Used to Live Here Once” the short story is written in third-person limited. A woman is walking down a path towards a house where she finds two young children playing outside. She calls out to them. They do not hear her then in realization she is dead. In paragraph one Rhys explains the crossing of the river symbolizes the woman crossing over to the afterlife. Each stepping stones represent the trials and tribulations throughout her life. Some were difficult to stand on, some safe, while others deceiving. Paragraph three the sky is described as glassy. I feel that it is another glimpse the author uses to show the woman as already passed on. Fragile and looking through some the other word. Lastly as the woman reaches the house, noticing the changes such as the addition to the home and the car parked out front. The cold that occurred all of sudden for the children suggests the paranormal feeling someone gets from a ghost encounter. In Welty’s “A Worn Path” the short story is written in third-person limited. An old woman is making a long, strenuous journey to retrieve medicine for her very ill grandson. Her name is Phoenix Jackson. This is tied together with the legend of the phoenix, the mythical Egyptian bird that lives for 500-1000 years, makes regular trips to Heliopolis where it dies and is reborn. Throughout the entire story there are several different birds referenced. Her grandson is also referred to a as bird. “…his mouth open like a little bird.” Rhys (1941) Para. 87, as well as the cane that she uses. “like the chirping of a solitary little bird.” Rhys (1941)para. 1. All the birds referenced all show characteristics that Phoenix Jackson carries. The Phoenix is a sign of bouncing back from adversity and resurrection. Being an African American woman in this time she is faced with adversity even in her journey to Natchez. Rhys also describes Phoenix leaving in the early morning and the “Sun so High!” Rhys (1941) para.8. In the legend of phoenix, Heliopolis is known as the city of the sun. The quail are known as symbols of love, family, protection, group nourishment, and the ability to overcome obstacles. These are all qualities that keep Phoenix going to help her grandson despite her old, fragile body. The hunter she encounters has a dead bob white in his bag. It is a harsh reality of her purpose to town. The Hen that appears when Phoenix steals the nickel also symbolizes intellectually impoverished, protective, and highly susceptible to danger. When speaking with the hunter, he speaks condensing to her and mocks her efforts in going to town. Out of the two strangers she in encounters, the hunter and the young woman that ties her