Phoenix Jackson Character Study

Categories: A Worn Path

Phoenix Jackson is portrayed in many different ways throughout Eudora Welty’s short story. She is a well presented old lady with scarce money but has a caring heart. Phoenix is trekking a very long path to occupy medicine for her grandson, and to purchase him a windmill for Christmas. In the short story, she spends quite a bit of her time making certain she is portrayed as a presentable lady. Phoenix refuses to be viewed as vulnerable. For instance, when she came across the hunter she was able to keep calm throughout the encounter.

When he had the gun up to her head she was able to remain confident and calm. This action made the hunter realize that Phoenix was strong. She maintains a strong and sarcastic attitude throughout the piece.

Phoenix is always speaking with a sarcastic tone throughout the story. She speaks to in adamant objects, for instance, she states “’Thorns, you doing your appointed work. Never want to let folks pass” (Welty).

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Even though the thorns are not real she still speaks to them as if they are; she does this to take out her frustration. Another point she does is when she is talking to people along her path; she maintains her dignity. Phoenix says “’Lying on my back like a June bug waiting to be turned over, mister,” (Welty). At this point in the story Phoenix had fallen she was being portrayed to any outsider as vulnerable. Yet she manages to develop her words in a way that makes her sound strong; while also asking for help.

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Phoenix spends the majority of her time speaking to herself. She does this to assure and motivate herself to keep going “’Up through pines,’ she said at length.’Now down through oaks.’ “(Welty). Like most of us, she is reassuring herself that she can keep going by describing the rest of her path. It is also stated later in the story that her memory is declining, so she may have done this to keep herself on track.

Throughout her journey to get her grandson’s medicine Phoenix experiences various emotions that develop her character. Phoenix is thinking about her grandson’s well being, and how she must make it back home to him safely. She feels a profound responsibility to make sure her grandson is happy and healthy. She knows in order to, do this she must remain presentable and qualified to be taken seriously. Being presentable was really important to her because she understands that she will be given the respects she deserves. Although most view Phoenix as a poor old lady they also she view a strong and determined character who is prepared to do anything for the ones she loves. Due to this, the nurse offers her some money as stated: “Could I give you a few pennies out of my purse?”(Welty). They feel sympathy for her, but also hold respect for her. Many of them could not do what she does. Phoenix Jackson is portrayed as a powerful character.

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Phoenix Jackson Character Study. (2021, Oct 08). Retrieved from

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