Theme and Narrative Elements A Worn Path In this paper I will describe and analyze the theme of the story ‘A Worn Path’, by Eudora Welty. I plan to give you a little insight of the symbolism used in this short story, and some information pertaining to the setting and character. The theme which according to Clugston, R. W. is associated with an idea that lies behind a literary work. (Clugston, R. W. 2010). In my opinion the theme in this story blatantly relates to the characters old age and her fear of death.
In my observation of this reading about her trying to make it to and from her destination, visualizing her thoughts and actions throughout the story made me feel as if she was weary of what she had to and would face by traveling this path being that is a motif of death, not knowing if she would make it back home with all the signs of death in her path.
I also believe that this journey helped her to remember her grandson and get closer concerning his death. The main character in this story was an old Negro woman by the name of Phoenix Jackson. Her first name is liked to Egyptian myth of the bird that renews itself periodically from its own ashes. ” (Bartel, Roland Summer 77). I think that Phoenix renews herself each year on the worn path to Natchez by getting over the death of her grandson and possibly coming to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be too long before she faced death herself. The story dramatizes the thoughts of this woman as she makes her journey through the woods of the Natchez trace. (Lister, Rachel 2007. ) Her imagination rescues her from the harshest aspects of her existence to make the portion of her bearable. (Bartel, Roland Summer 77)
This story is allegory because the setting, characters, plot, and other elements in the story are all symbols. (Clugston, R. W. 2010). The setting is on a worn path once traveled often by many people. Mrs. Jackson travels this path throughout the whole story. The path hasn’t been traveled as much; it’s worn down by trees, bushes, thorns, creatures, and wild animals and is barely a path anymore. Phoenix Jackson takes this journey during the cold winter in December around Christmas time. There are many symbols in this reading and some of them I weren’t aware of before I read chapter 7 of Journey into Literature by Clugston.
The cane that Phoenix used to walk, the wrinkels on her forehead, and the drinking well that she doesn’t know who built because it was there before she was born all symbolize her old age. She stated that her senses were leaving her. Some of the things that symbolized death in this reading were the buzzard,the dead trees, the scare crow she thought was a ghost, the cold winter, the hunter pointing a gun at her, the dead corn, the hill she had to climb symbolizing a struggle to move forward which was probably physical and psychological in the death of her grandson.
She wore a red rag which symbolizes passion/danger. The water that she drank represents a source of life or regeneration, flow of human experience. In conclusion, this is my analysis and description of the theme in the story a Worn Path. I hope you got to know the character and the setting a little better, and you explored the symbols that were used in context with the short story A Worn Path by Eudora Welty. References Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into Literature.
San Diego, California; Bridgepoint Education Inc. LIFE AND DEATH IN EUDORA WELTY’S ‘A Worn Path’ Bartel, Roland. Studies in Short Fiction, Smmer 77, Vol. 14 Issue 3, p288, 3p (Literary Critisism. ) Literary Context in Short Stories: Eudora Welty’s “ A Worn Path” Lister, Rachel. Literary Context in Short Stories Collections: Eudora Welty’s ‘A Worn Path’ Understanding Literature: Literary Context in Collections, 2007, p1, 1p (Literary Critisis
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