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A Worn Path

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by

Julia Basil

on 24 November 2014

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Transcript of A Worn Path

A Worn Path

By Eudora Welty

Setting
- December in Mississippi in the 1940’s.

-Begins where Phoenix is in the wilderness then it shifts to the city of Natchez.

- Cold Day
Every trip has a quest
What is the real reason for a quest?
Self knowledge
A quester:
- A quester is a person who takes on the journey
- usually the protagonist
- There is also a reason for the journey

Who is the quester of this novel?


Phoenix Jackson
Phoenix Jackson is the quester
- Protagonist
- She is the quester because she is going on a journey for a reason: her grandson
- She is determined and self-less.
A place to go:
To the doctors office in town to get her grandsons medicine
A stated reason to go there:
The reason of the long journey is to get her grandson's medicine.



Challenges and Trials
Throughout the short story, Phoenix encounters many challenges throughout her journey.

1.
a dog causing her to lose balance and eventually fall
2.
a hunter who taunts her with his gun and is prejudice towards her
3
. Getting her skirt torn in the bushes
The real reason to go:
Unlike most short stories, the actual reason Phoenix Jackson takes this long journey a countless amount of times is to get the medicine to help her grandson breathe properly.

** He cannot breathe sometimes because he accidentally drank lye.
Themes
Love
Phoenix’s love and compassion towards her grandson. As said in the story “she doesn't come for herself-- she has a little grandson grandson. She makes these trips as regular as clockwork.” (229)

Racial prejudice
Although the story doesn’t bring too much attention to this theme, it is prevalent. The hunter calls her “granny,” the shopper calls her “Grandma,” and the nurse calls her “Aunt Phoenix.” But on the other hand, the people she encounters do treat her with minimal respect.

Strength and endurance against adversity
Although Phoenix is an old woman, she perseveres to travel a long distance and face multiple obstacles just to get medicine for her grandchild (explain why she fights through adversity, … = love for her grandson, “deep grained habit”)

Symbolism
5 steps to a journey:
1. A quester:
2. A place to go
3. A stated reason to go there
4. Challenges and trials
5. The real reason to go


* now fill out the chart on the 5 steps on A Worn Path
- Phoenix Jackson is a flat and static character throughout the short story, A Worn Path




- She is also a stock character. She is a stereotypical grandma who would do anything for her grandson.
Name symbolism
- The protagonist’s name is Phoenix, which is a mythological bird that rises from the ashes and defies morality.
- Similarly, Phoenix’s spirit is immortal. Although her grandchild may be dead, she rises from the ashes, although racism makes her quest more difficult, and allows love and spirit of preservation to triumph over all the difficulties.
Paper windmill
-This is what she wants to get her grandson with the money she got
- Represents what propels people on their journeys
- In this short story it is her grandson
Cake
- A symbol of the unfulfilled promises made to black Americans struggling for equality with whites.

- "When a little boy brought her a plate with a slice of marble-cake on it she spoke to him. 'That would be acceptable.' But when she went to take it there was just her own hand in the air."
Birds
- symbolizes the dangers and delights of Phoenix's life
- she describes her grandson as "he wear a little patch quilt and peep out holding his mouth open like a little bird
Point of View
- Third person limited


The effect of this point of view is important
- we know her thoughts, but we can also see how people react to her. It isn't biased.
Characterization
Discussion:
Do you think that Phoenix Jackson's grandson is dead? Why or why not?
In the interview with Eudora Welty, she says that "being dead cannot increase the truth of the story, cant affect it one way or another"
Full transcript