A worn path symbolism essays

Each individual appears to patronise Phoenix rather than show her the respect that one would expect a woman to receive.

by Eudora Welty

There is also some symbolism in the story which may be important. By having the white man point his gun at Phoenix after he helps her from the ditch, Welty may be suggesting that likewise many African Americans were confronted with violence or aggression from white people.

"A Worn Path" Eudora Welty reads her famous story HEAR THE AUTHOR superb voice

The fact that Phoenix is not scared may also be important as it is possible that Welty is suggesting that aggression against African Americans again at the time the story was published may have been a common occurrence. Phoenix may be used to being threatened and as such no longer fears these threats.

The fact that Phoenix lives so far from town may also be significant as it is through distancing Phoenix from others and those who live in town that Welty may be highlighting the racial isolation that existed at the time.

A Worn Path Summary

Money, particularly in literature, is commonly used to symbolise greed however the fact that Phoenix uses both the nickel she picks up from the ground and the nickel the nurse gives her to buy something for her grandson suggests that she is being selfless, that she is thinking of somebody else. Despite the difficulties that she has had to overcome Phoenix has been selfless with her only priority being to help her grandson and get him the medicine he needs. Just as her name suggests, Phoenix will rise again. But yes, the other possibility is that the grandson is still alive, and that his health depends in large part on her tenacity.


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Thanks for the comment Hila. This review gave me some new insights toward the story, just like your other reviews. This allows the reader to empathize with Phoenix, because her thoughts and actions are shown.

Yet, in third-person, the reader is allowed to view Phoenix from a distance, and thereby see her as others see her. Eudora Welty has been praised from early on for her use of language.

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The story begins when Phoenix makes her way into a forest abundant with wildlife. The animals that she is afraid of symbolize her first obstacle in her journey. She tells the animals "Don"t let none of those come running my direction. I got a long way.

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The use of symbolism in A worn Path

Then Phoenix is confronted with her next obstacle in the form of a bush grabbing at her dress. She at first says that she was fooled by the bush thinking that it was "a pretty little green bush," when it actually is something that grabs a hold of her dress and almost tears it. This part of the journey shows that the temptations that life may offer might look good or seem like a good idea, but as soon as you get close enough to them they make troubles.

Phoenix seems to get into one place in the bush thinks that she is finally out, but just gets stuck again in the bush. Life seems to do exactly what the bush in Phoenix's journey does.

A Worn Path Symbolism Essays on Eudora Welty’s Short Story

As soon as a person thinks that the struggle is over, another problem seems to come up. Phoenix then has to cross over a log laying across a creek.

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Phoenix did just that. When Phoenix takes a break it showed that after going through many struggles it is best to stop, rest, and enjoy the view. Welty portrays Phoenix's character with a sense of warmth.


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This brief description of the plot of "A Worn Path" is minimal in comparison to how interesting the story really was. In Welty's biography it states that she is from the south and is a major southern writer. Welty's plot is strong because it's real and educational.