Racism In A Worn Path

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Beyond the Walk to Natchez A historical great piece of literary art, “A Worn Path” published in 1941, is a story of an old woman’s journey to town through the forest. The setting is rural Mississippi in the 1940’s, a time when racism was a way of life and a trip to town, especially for an old black woman, was often a long journey and thus a trip not often taken. The old woman’s name is Phoenix Jackson and she has quite an adventurous trip through the forest to town. One is made to believe this is just an average walk down the path for this old woman; however the reader is entertained by Phoenix’s mannerisms and realizes there is deeper meaning of the story. This story, though short in length, host an abundance of symbolism, racial issues…show more content…
Some references even suggest Phoenix may have once been a slave; such as the chains the old woman feels on her feet as she climbs the path uphill. Racial inequality is unmistakably clear when the old woman falls in the ditch and is confronted by the white hunter. One would believe the hunter calling Phoenix Granny to be a harmless reference to her age; however, Granny is a term coined by southern whites in the thirties and forties and refers to a single elderly black woman: a granny is an old black woman who takes care of the white…show more content…
The old woman is unfazed, which leads the reader to believe she is quite used to this behavior from young white men; in fact, Phoenix actually has the upper hand and the hunter does not even realize it. Elaine Orr points this out in her essay, stating “While he appears the authority, she employs his definitions and rewrites them as riddles, thus deconstructing his privilege”. In another essay the writer states “she is confronted by a white hunter who levels his shotgun at her in an obvious allusion to Jim Crow racial violence” (Moberly). The fact that Phoenix calls the hunters bluff with a gun pointed at her proves this is not her first run-in with an arrogant young white man. The old woman is used to this form of racism and is not daunted by it as she has mind set to complete her walk to
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