Symbols In A Worn Path

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In the short story, “A Worn Path”, Eudora Welty uses symbolism to tell the story of Phoenix Jackson’s determination and resilience in life. Welty’s story depicts the journey of a black woman as she walks a path she has walked numerous times in her life. During Phoenix’s trek she is faced with several experiences that could have warranted her to abandon her mission. The first experience, in my opinion, was during the first portion of her trip; to which she states, “something always take a hold of me on this hill- pleads I should stay” (Kirszner & Mandell, 2012, p. 388). After crossing the thorny path and over a log on the creek, Phoenix sets down to rest and imagines a boy bringing her a piece of marble cake. She strangely replies “that would be acceptable” (Kirszner & Mandell, 2012, p. 388), which could imply that she would have accepted her death and defeat, but instead she presses forward in her trip. The second event occurs when she encounters the black dog on the path and ends up helpless in a ditch. As if the…show more content…
A Phoenix is said to be bright gold and red coloring like fire, likewise, Phoenix Jackson had gold running under her skin with a red rag tied on her head. Similarly, both the mythological Phoenix and Welty’s character had noticeably blue eyes. At one point in the story, Phoenix Jackson refreshes herself with sweet gum water, a favorite of the Phoenix bird. Lastly, after completing her mission, Phoenix taps her cane on the floor and states, “this is what comes to me to do” (Kirszner & Mandell, 2012, p.393). The mythological Phoenix, when completing its life, claps its wings together and begins the process of rebirth. By tapping her cane, Welty’s character could be signifying the rebirth of her renewed spirit in her purpose so she can face the long journey she must make
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