A Worn Path

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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"A Worn Path" by Eudora Welty shows a constant struggle (unifier) throughout Phoenix Jackson's determined journey (divisor). Immediately the construction of the discordant setting takes place with mention of a chilly, icy day. The author then reveals that the main character of the story is a woman so old that her eyes are "blue with age" (par. 2). As Phoenix begins her treacherous trip into town, she is faced with numerous natural obstacles. Cold and lonely, the forest recognizes its cherished, old companion and thus protects Phoenix as she comes upon such dangerous encounters as crossing a river by way of a narrow log. However, Phoenix does not turn back. Even when she falls into a ditch and encounters a young man who attempts to coax her back home, she does not give up. Phoenix only presses on with strength of will that can be surpassed by nothing.

Perhaps Phoenix has developed this inner strength and sometimes stubbornness because of the times in which she lives. Soon, the destination and reason for Phoenix's cross-country trek is told: she has a sick grandson at home and he needs his medicine. Now it is obvious and understood how she was able to travel so far. When something is done out of love for someone, nothing can stand in the way. Unfortunately, segregation was prevalent during the life of Phoenix Jackson. After living such a hard life and being rejected by society, her grandson is the only person left for her to love. She does not forget that love even when she enters the doctor's office through the "Blacks Only" door. Her dedication is amazing. Although Phoenix sometimes misplaces her memory, she never loses her love or sheer determination, which makes her character almost stoic. Even though Phoenix faces obstacles throughout...

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