The story, A Worn Path, by Eudora Welty, involves the journey taken by an African American woman to get medicine for her sick grandchild. The story can be perceived to illustrate the challenges that African Americans experienced before the issue of racial inequality was addressed. The character exhibits patience, hope and confidence to achieve her goal of acquiring the medicine. Phoenix exhibits courage when facing situations that demean her because of her skin color and old age. The description of Phoenix Jacksons journey illustrates some of the challenges that the African Americans experienced before racial equality was put into consideration.
It is important to note that the whole story is a journey whereby Phoenix comes across plenty of difficulties. Phoenix is aware of the hopelessness and the struggle of her journey, especially since she is old but she does not give up on ensuring the child gets medicine. She uses a stick to support her in the journey. The author describes her as, Her skin had a pattern all its own of numberless branching wrinkles and as though a whole little tree stood in the middle of her forehead, but a golden color ran underneath, and the two knobs of her cheeks were illumined by a yellow burning under the dark, (Welty 216). Another example illustrating her age to be a limitation but Phoenix still manages to continue with her journey, includes Phoenixs thoughts when climbing a hill. She states, Seem like there is chains about my feet, the time I get this far," she said, in the voice of argument old people keep to use with themselves. "Something always takes hold of me on this hill pleads I should stay, (Welty 216) In other words, despite being aware of the condition of her body, she focuses on reaching her destination.
Apart from her age, other aspects also present challenges to Phoenix as she struggles to reach her destination. Phoenix experiences struggle when her dress gets caught in a bush. She struggles to free her dress from the bush and to ensure that it does not get torn. She states, "I in the thorny bush," she said. Thorns, you doing your appointed work. Never want to let folks pass, no sir. Old eyes thought you were a pretty little green bush, (Welty 217) She manages to save her dress and proceeds with the journey. Another challenge entails her encounter with a white man who is also a hunter. The man mocks her by stating, I know you old colored people! Wouldn't miss going to town to see Santa Claus!" (Welty 218) After inquiring about her journey. Nonetheless, he does not impose any harm on her and allows her to proceed with her journey.
The journey can be described as renewal or redemption of life. It can be perceived that Phoenixs path is worn not only due to making the journey several times but also since it involves many self-sacrifices for others. Phoenix can experience renewal and to bring new life to the child every time the journey is made. A nurse states, She doesn't come for herselfshe has a little grandson. She makes these trips just as regular as clockwork, (Welty 221)
As stated earlier, the description of Phoenix Jacksons journey illustrates some of the challenges that the African Americans experienced before racial equality was put into consideration. Phoenixs age, the difficulties that she faces during the journey and her aim for taking part in the journey make part of Phoenixs journey by which she overcomes the challenges to ensure that she gets the childs medicine. The motif that aligns with the story is the protagonist taking part on a journey to acquire a reward that will result in new life.
Welty, Eudora. A Worn Path. Literature: A Portable Anthology. 3rd ed. Ed. Janet E. Gardner, et al. New York: Bedford/St. Martins 2013. 216-223. Print.
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