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A Worn Path Essay

“A Worn Path” written by Eudora Welty, is set during a cold winter after the conclusion of the Civil War, in a rural area near Christmas time in the mid 1900’s. Phoenix, an older uneducated Negro woman, who endured racism, is the main character with minor characters of a hunter, a dog, a nurse, a clerk and Phoenix’s grandson. Eudora Welty began developing the story in the first paragraph by choosing the name of the main character – Phoenix. A phoenix is a mythological bird that supposedly lived over 500 years ago and died in flames and rose again from the ashes. (W)

My idea of what the author is conveying through various writing techniques is that there are many obstacles in life and one may overcome obstacles by determination, love, a strong personality and a helping hand from others. The characters represent various aspects of life. Phoenix had to overcome many obstacles – cold weather, her age, a hunter with a gun, thorns and hills. The obstacles can be viewed as lessons or opportunities to learn. The black dog which startled Phoenix represents unexpected “bumps in the road.” Another obstacle, Phoenix had to overcome was her own internal worry about wild animals (snakes, coons, wild hogs, foxes, owls, and beetles) on her way to town. An external conflict was represented by the physical struggles Phoenix endured. A major obstacle, Phoenix overcame was to walk across a log suspended over a creek, using her cane to balance her weight. I consider this particular obstacle as a life changing event. Phoenix also knew she had to take care of her grandson because she was the only person left. A reader could view the walk Phoenix regularly completed as Phoenix’s reason for being alive or as a rebirth.

Assistance in life comes in many ways. The hunter and his dog helping Phoenix with a hand-up moved Phoenix forward on her journey. Life is like that – made easier with help from others. The author did a great job conveying these characteristics. The main character, Phoenix, represents a strong individual who overcame numerous obstacles. Phoenix was dedicated to helping her grandson and was determined to complete her task. The author, through creative descriptive words, revealed a multitude of personality characteristics within Phoenix. The main character was in control of her life as evidenced by her determination to stay on her journey even when the hunter tried to persuade Phoenix to return home. A reader could view the walk Phoenix regularly completed as Phoenix’s reason for being alive or as a rebirth.

Phoenix was on a mission! Eudora Welty was very effective with the writing techniques. The story was easy to understand, the language descriptive and was enjoyable to read. The descriptive language the author used made me feel as if I was there. I feel the author wrote the story from the third person omniscient (all knowing) narrator point of view. The author utilized the setting to represent obstacles. The setting is both physical and chronological. The author used great descriptive language to help create the story in the reader’s mind. The author, based on this particular story, perceives life as a struggle. Welty was successful in creating a story about values of love, compassion, dedication, determination and helping others.

Works Cited
W, Susan. LLC’S. 2013. Definition. 2013. .

Thesis statement:
Thesis from “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty:
In Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path,” Phoenix Jackson exhibits great love, determination, and devotion as she overcomes many challenges on her frequent yet terrifying trek to town in order to retrieve medicine for her grandson.


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