A Worn Path Analysis Essay

In Eudora Weltys short story “A Worn Path”, a large amount of detail is used to depict the elderly black woman Phoenix. The references of the “apron of bleached sugar sacks” and that she had “her head tied in a red rag” establish Phoenix’s poverty. Other details that one might notice are the untied tennis shoes and her charity-case status as revealed in the medical office when she has someone tie her shoes for her, being that she “can’t lace ’em with a cane”.

Even though Phoenix is at her lowest point, these key details don’t define her and what she’s setting out to accomplish, that eing acquiring medicine for her grandson. These aspects add to the theme of pure determination even whilst everything is trying to stop a meager soul; that even in such a low place as Phoenix is, one will continue carrying on in their Journey. It is clear that her Journey is along a worn path, and well worn at that, because she addresses the animals as acquaintances, closes her eyes when she balances on the log, and follows her feet rather than her mind to get to the medical office in Natchez.

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This shows that she has made the trip many times, hinted when she states Something always take a hold of me on this hill” and “Now comes the trial”, showing that she is familiar with where she is headed. She knows all of what is to be hurled her way and yet still carries on when old and tired. She seems accustomed to being alone because she constantly speaks to herself, referring to giving herself a pep talk to carry on. When the man in the woods confronts Phoenix by pointing a gun in front of her face, she doesn’t flinch. He asks her “doesn’t the gun scare you? in which she replies no sir”, showing that nothing can stop her on her Journey, even the threat of death. Even with a gun pointed at her, she is still determined that she will carry on. Not much description is given about the man in the woods, hinting at his lack of determination, shown when he “smiled, and shouldered the gun” after Phoenix stands strong in front of it. After their encounter, the two go their separate ways, displaying that the man wasn’t determined after all to stop Phoenix on her Journey. When asked about her grandson, Phoenix once again shows her determination.

She is strict on the fact that “he suffer and it don’t seem to put him back at all”, making sure that others know that he is going to make it through his condition. This sense of determination is what got her through this entire Journey; it’s what kept her on her feet. Even when other people came along to knock her down, Phoenix was far too determined to be stopped. Through her behavior and actions, it’s shown that staying on course, even if it happens to be one far too familiar, determination gives one the strength they need. A Worn Path Analysis By leafyy


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