The journey through the worn path is symbolism of the path of life. The story is based on an old southern African American women, Phoenix Jackson, and her journey to town to pick up her grandsons medication. The obstacles that Phoenix Jackson faces along the way are equivalent to the trials of life. In this paper, I will argue the symbolism behind this story. Every obstacle Phoenix faces along the way has symbolism.
Phoenix Jackson was not like every other women. She was blind and used a cane to make her way to town. Throughout this story it is said the walk to town was dreadful. Having many fields and forest trees. For someone that is blind and hard of waking, this couldn’t have been her first time taking this long journey.
Her innocence of bending down and sipping from a stream can be symbolism of a child. Phoenix being an old African American women could be looked at as a minority back then and today. Phoenix also walks to town verses taking a taxi or having someone drive her. Phoenix encounters a young white hunter but only notices a nickel fall from his pocket. Which could be symbolism of how she can’t see well but still sees the money because she is poor.
Phoenix Jackson is an older women but still makes the journey for her beloved grandson. She had many obstacles but not all situations were bad. Had it not been for the young white hunter helping her out of the ditch she might still be in it. There is symbolism in this event. The old women represents the minority while the young hunter represents the majority. The symbolism being that the minority is always depending on majority to help them.
Phoenix finally approaches the town. She makes her way to the doctor’s office to retrieve the medication for her grandson. When she arrives she is greeted by a grumpy desk worker. The desk worker isn’t nice until the nurse reassures them. The nurse says Phoenix is there for medication and they know her. Symbolizing that people are quick to judge others by their race.
Phoenix had a dream while resting in the woods. While she was resting she saw a shadow of a kid in front of her offering a piece of marble cake. The marble cake was a symbolism for African Americans and whites. In this time racism was very big. The colors mixing showed that black and white people can be together. The dream shows us that Phoenix hoped someday racism would be gone and colors would no longer matter.
When Phoenix goes through the pine woods she says “Trees surrounded the forest, crying out for help” the trees and crying out symbolize Phoenix trying to escape from the forest. She went through cold weather, ditches, hills, thorns, wild animals, and the white hunter. In her article, Phoenix: reveals in ‘The Worn Path’ Welty, Eudora notes “The incident with the hunter symbolizes the resiliency of the black movement toward equality” All of these obstacles was for her grandson. This shows how much Phoenix Jackson loves her grandson.
Phoenix’s journey to and from the store is symbolic of the life she lived. She is an old women taking care of her grandson the best she can. She is poor because she never went to school. She is African American which put racism in her path. Even through everything, she stays strong. “Strength and determination in the face of hardship”. This demonstrates that no matter what she had to go through she was determined to take care of Jackson.