Eudora Welty's tale "A Worn Path" is one of the most notable and researched pieces of short fiction. The narrative is set in the South. Their speech and mannerisms frequently define this region. Eudora Welty's great use of tone and variation makes the report more realistic. Phoenix Jackson faces a series of challenges in "A Worn Path" that symbolize her effort to attain her objective.
First, the narrative "A Worn Path" takes place during Christmas. Greg Barnhisel says it contributes to the concept of rebirth. On Christmas, we open gifts. This depicts Christ's birth. This is the story's setting, where everything has a bigger significance and purpose. "A charity case, I suppose," an attendant says to Jackson (Welty 34). This portrays her as a woman of strong faith and an example of the religious message. Christ is also born in a year-dead nature-society (Barnhisel). Christ died to save others' lives. This is the Christian answer to the core paradox of life and death.
Besides the surroundings, Phoenix Jackson's name is symbolic. As stated by Barnhisel, "Phoenix Jackson's name refers to a legendary bird." This desert bird lives for 500-600 years. The bird self-ignites, rising from the ashes (Barnhisel). This denotes eternality. Some religions believe in resurrection, like Christ. Welty described Phoenix as a lone bird to Rachel Lister. In the narrative, some birds reflect the fragility of Phoenix and her grandchild, while others are more vicious and appear to portend death. Phoenix observes a dead bob-white tucked in the hunter's bag (Welty 32). This picture oscillates.
Third, Jackson's age is significant in the plot. When Eudora Welty penned the story, it was 1940. (Barnhisel). Jackson says she has no senses and believes she is the oldest woman alive (Barnhisel). "My senses are gone; I'm too old," Phoenix tells the scarecrow. The oldest person I know" (Welty 31). It's strange to believe that Jackson's neighbourhood had few female residents. When Lee surrendered in 1865, she was too old to attend school if she honestly told the nurse her age (Barnhisel). This was a huge concern back then, and there were particular prerequisites to enrol in school. "There is no telling, mister," the hunter says to Phoenix (Welty 32). She had to be over a century old. Jackson's age prevents her from achieving her goals and limits her choices.
Jackson's portrayal represents the black people as a whole. In a way, this might make kids appear innocent and defenceless. According to Greg Barnhisel, some still represent them in this light Today (Barnhisel). Eudora Welty was up in Mississippi and experienced the Civil Rights Movement and the Southern Renaissance. Phoenix Jackson's "two knobs of cheeks were lighted by a golden blaze under the gloom" (Welty 30). Aside from Jackson symbolizing blacks, going back to her old age can indicate that blacks are changeless and everlasting. It might be condescending to discuss this with the entire race. Being black in these times may be overwhelming and unfair. Jackson's mimicry of the black race portrays the race as exceptionally empathetic, say critics (Barnhisel). This is a distortion of the blacks' genuine human complexity. People still assign blacks an "identity" and judge them differently now.
Fifth, "A Worn Path" reveals symbolism in her characterization. This depicts historical preconceptions. According to Barnhisel's Short Stories for students, these black stereotypes demonstrate their cunning and dishonesty. Today's culture has many stereotyped persons. When the hunter drops his coin, Jackson picks it up (Welty 33). This shows that blacks were seen as "lesser" people. Jackson's race symbolism may be misleading and judgemental (Barnhisel). Throughout the novel, her race clashes with her society's norms. A humorous picture of black powerlessness, according to Greg Barnhisel.
The chains represent Jackson's sense of social mobility in the South. According to Rachel Lister, "the shackles, thorns, and barbed wire reflect the continuous tyranny which hinders African-American social mobility." Blacks were confined and regulated during this period. Although the white man does not assault Phoenix, his statements reveal southern stereotypes. "I know you old collared people!" the white man threatens Phoenix. Wouldn't miss seeing Santa Claus in town" (Welty 32). In other words, being black in the South means being dictated to. Eudora Welty offers blacks of human variation, not just survival (Lister). Being black in this era was tough and unpopular in society.
The diploma and the cake depicted in the narrative are two items that readers frequently overlook yet are significant. Lister says graduation represents not only the culmination of a journey but also the educational options she has been denied (Lister). The schools were segregated by race, with whites having more benefits and free. Aside from the diploma, the cake is vital. Phoenix sees a boy give her a marble cake. The image of a piece of black and white cake refers to the notion of integration in the South, says Dennis Sykes. Phoenix has almost hallucinogenic visions". "It would be acceptable," Phoenix tells the boy (Welty 31). That's a kind of racist dispute.
Phoenix Jackson's trek to Natchez represents Christianity. Marilyn Keys believes she may compare Jackson's struggles and temptations on the trip to Natchez to Christ's temptations in the wilderness or the Stations of the Cross. This all stems from Christian teachings. Phoenix was seeking her missing cent. It was a nurse's Christmas gift. "God is always watching me," she claims (Welty 33). Besides her voyage, Jackson's treatment of her ailing grandson might be considered a Christ figure (Barnhisel). The nurse called it a "kind act" (Welty 34). This is God's grace. Suffered is part of God's effort to overcome barriers and rely on God's help in times of need.
Symbolism in "A Worn Path" has immense value and is a relevant topic today. It shows us how different individuals are treated and how life may differ. The story's worn route depicts the struggles and tribulations of ordinary life. Phoenix Jackson is regarded as a regular collared individual going about her life. Throughout the novel, Jackson faces various challenges and feels the desire to quit. This narrative is about overcoming concerns and obstacles to get forward in life.
Author: Harry Triguboff
Profile: English Literature & Essay Writing Help