“A Worn Path”
“ A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty is a story about an elderly ‘Negro’ woman, in the 1930’s era, who travels to town by foot down an old worn path who’s mission is not stated until the end of the story. The main character is one Phoenix Jackson. Phoenix does not know her age but she is well seasoned and up there in age. There are several themes associated with this story. Essentially, it is about love so compassionate that it will overcome all obstacles again, and again. In chapter seven, the text initially states that the story is about love. I would like to go into detail on why I think that diligence is a key theme driven by love. Diligent is constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything (Dictionary, 2012). It is having or showing care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort. Constant effort to accomplish something.
“A Worn Path” ultimately describes the journey of an older black woman traveling from Natchez who navigates through an old worn path filled with obstacles, hardships, and threats to town to get medicine for her sick grandson who accidentally swallowed lye a few years before. In the beginning, the narrator goes into great detail to describe the main character. At first how she approaches the scene. “ “She was very old and small and she walked slowly in the dark pine shadows, moving a little from side to side in her steps, with the balanced heaviness and lightness of a pendulum in a grand-father clock. She carried a thin, small cane made from an umbrella, and with this she kept tapping the frozen earth in front of her. This made a grave and
persistent noise in the still air, that seemed meditative like the chirping of a solitary little bird” (Welty, 1941, Para 1).
Welty sets the tone with the introductory paragraphs. Notice the author’s choice of words in describing her stride, “persistent”. Also, it is a cold December morning. Phoenix Jackson‘s name itself is a symbolism. A Phoenix is an ancient Egyptian bird symbolizing resurrection or renewal. In Chapter Seven, we were introduced to a number of symbolisms; the account that December some say symbolize death. Phoenix walks through the pinewoods, is challenged with going up a hill, fighting through thorn bushes, is slightly blinded by the sun bringing her old, gray eyes to tears, and crosses a creek by log before her first break. She shows subtle encouragement by saying “ "I wasn't as old as I thought"(Welty, 1941,Para 11). Now, She is so old that she does not even know her age. Phoenix goes to take a quick rest and imagines a boy offering a piece of cake. After her eyes play tricks on her she decides to carry on with her journey to town. She then encounters a barbed fence maneuvering through that insisting again, as she did with the thorn bushes, not to tear her dress. After making it through the fence in the maze of a cotton field sat a buzzard, to her symbolizing death that she acknowledged and continued on. As if this were not enough adventure thus far for and old lady. She is startled by a scarecrow in the field then she playful regains her wits making it to a