Symbolism in the life of phoenix jackson in the short story a worn path by eudora welty

Phoenix Jackson loves her grandson so much that she endures a painful walk to town in order to get the medicine that he needs. Themes[ edit ] One of the major themes of the short story is unselfish love. Most critics and readers saw it as a modern Southern fairy-tale and noted that it employs themes and characters reminiscent of the Grimm Brothers ' works.

Later on in the story, Phoenix is talking about her grandson and says how he would "wear a little patch quilt and peep out holding his mouth open like a little bird" Welty, par.

Finally reaching the "shining" city of Natchez, Phoenix enters the "big building"—presumably a hospital—where a nurse questions her about her grandson, asking if he has died.

Eudora Welty

Like most of her short stories, Welty masterfully captures Southern idiom and places importance on location and customs. Eudora Welty tells the reader this: Deceptively simple in tone and scope, the story is structured upon a journey motif that incorporates a rich texture of symbolic meaning.

As a publicity agent, she collected stories, conducted interviews, and took photographs of daily life in Mississippi. In "A Worn Path", the character Phoenix has much in common with the mythical bird. Place is vitally important to Welty.

The hunter suddenly points his gun at her, and while he may have seen her pick up the nickel, it is unclear what his actual motivation is for this threatening gesture. Welty gave a series of addresses at Harvard University, revised and published as One Writer's Beginnings Harvard, Henry Award in Then her journey began to go to hospital.

A Worn Path

That is, I ought to have learned by now, from here, what such a man, intent on such a deed, had going on in his mind. As with most myths, there are variations on the myth, but the most common representation of the phoenix is a large scarlet and gold bird.

He comes home after bringing fire to his boss and is full of male libido and physical strength. Don Donlan equates the chirping noise created by the cane to the song of the phoenix par. The phoenix is a bird that matures to an extreme age before it bursts into flame and is reborn from the ashes.

She then apologizes, claiming that her memory had suddenly failed her—that for a moment, she could not remember why she had made her long journey. The phoenix has been credited with amazing powers: Some see it as a food source, others see it as deadly, and some see it as a sign that "the outside world is full of endurance".

It makes a nest and catches fire from the sun, bursting into flame. Fiction K - English - Words: The mythical bird Phoenix lives for a period of to 1, years. Selected Essays and Reviews.

Soon after Welty returned to Jackson inher father died of leukemia. This sense of fulfillment sends a message of this being the end of her journey; this being the last time she will travel to Natchez.

Eudora Welty

From the very beginning of her journey, references are made to the phoenix. As Professor Veronica Makowsky from the University of Connecticut writes, the setting of the Mississippi Delta has "suggestions of the goddess of love, Aphrodite or Venus -shells like that upon which Venus rose from the sea and female genitalia, as in the mound of Venus and Delta of Venus".

It is seen as one of Welty's finest short stories, winning the second-place O. The plot focuses on family struggles when the daughter and the second wife of a judge confront each other in the limited confines of a hospital room while the judge undergoes eye surgery.

Eudora Welty s A Worn Path is a story that emphasizes the natural symbolism of the surroundings. The main character in the story, Phoenix Jackson, is an old black woman who seeks out to find medicine for her sick nephew.

This story contains a motif, which is the continuous walking of Phoenix Jackson throughout her journey. She lives in the. An Analysis of Phoenix Jackson and the Symbolism of "A Worn Path" Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path" is a story rich in mythological tales and figures, the most prominent being the legend of the phoenix.


There are several symbols and references made during the course of the story to the legend of the phoenix. "A Worn Path" by Eudora Welty is a short story about an elderly African-American woman who undertakes a familiar journey on a road in a rural area to acquire medicine for her grandson.

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Symbolism in Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path”

WORN PATH Eudora Welty brings the story, &#;A Worn Path&#;, to life through the use of the character Phoenix Jackson and symbols. This story detail&#;s an elderly Negro woman&#;s journey to town, on a mission of love.


There is no question that Welty knew what she was doing when she chose to name the main character of “A Worn Path” Phoenix Jackson. A Phoenix is a mythological creature that lives for five A Phoenix is a mythological creature that lives for five.

Symbolism in the life of phoenix jackson in the short story a worn path by eudora welty
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Eudora Welty - Wikipedia