A Worn Path is a piece of impressive work created by Eudora Welty and revolves around two important emotions everyone has for their family – love and sacrifice. She starts her story by introducing her main character, an old black woman named Phoenix, who follows a worn path during Christmas season. The story relies heavily on subtext and symbolism, and Welty has actually managed to use her leading character sensibly to represent the powerful force of determination, sacrifice, and love.
In the story, Welty explains how a poor woman wants to travel on foot, with a stick in her hand. The author narrates everything in a beautiful way, explaining how the old woman stays motivated and determined to cover the distance from her abode to the nearest town where her grandson is in need. She has to face several problems during her journey. Right from the poor eyesight to slow walking pace, there was nothing in her favor. Still, she manages to solve her problems and finally gets to her destination.
The author skillfully explains how every person has his/her journey to complete, and during this phase, everyone has to overcome several obstacles. As mentioned, the story is full of symbolism, but at the same time, Welty tries to touch slightly on the issue of racism. In the story, Phoenix tries to ask a white man and a nurse for help, but doesn’t receive a good response. The nurse and the white man symbolizes people and hurdles that come in everyone’s life – dealing with these hurdles properly always brings success in life.
Another interesting point in this story is the use of the name Phoenix, which symbolizes resurrection – at least according to Egyptian Mythology. Not only this, the idea of making a weak woman travel during Christmas season represents sacrifice , and at the same time, it depicts the belief of Christians of salvation from God. What it implies is that the way Jesus made the sacrifices for His sons, the old lady sacrifices her happiness for her grandchild.
The bottom line is that self-giving and unselfish love is the main idea of the story. By making the right use of symbolism and simple language, the writer has successfully managed to convey her message to readers.
“A Worn Path.” 2001. The Atlantic Monthly Group. 29 April 2008 .