Phoenix Jackson By Eudora Welty Essay

Phoenix Rises From the Ashes When asked by a white hunter ” Doesn’t the gun
scare you?” while having it pointed at her, Phoenix Jackson, of Eudora
Welty’s “A Worn Path”, replies “No, sir. I seen plenty go off closer by,
in my day, and for less than what I done,” This is an example of how the
protagonist deals with another of her travails. Phoenix’s conflicts only hone
the thrust of Welty’s tale of triumph over adversity. The irrelevancy of these
tortures to this person’s purpose is made all the more poignant by their
staggering weight. From the first line of the narrative you learn the setting is
December. A “frozen day”, and yet Phoenix does ought but rejoice that it is
not the “season” for bulls and snakes. Given the numerous references to her
advanced age: a delusion of a small boy handing her a slice of cake after
navigating a log bridge, to “Her eyes blue with age.” She travels from the
deep wood though the dangers of both terrain and prejudice. Throughout the story
she encounters obstacles that would deter stalwart heroes of epics. While
traveling through the country Phoenix encounters a white hunter who helps her up
after being knocked to the ground. Despite his threatening manner, pointing his
gun at her, he tries to deter her from her task. He points out the distance she
had to travel even to reach the point at which they had met. He callously
explains that “I know you old colored people! Wouldn’t miss going to town to
see Santa Claus!”. Lastly to add further injury to insult, after losing a
nickel and not being aware of it, he claims to not have a penny to give her. All
Phoenix does is apologize to “God” for having stolen it. What fear grips a
person who knows what they were doing was incredibly important, and yet they
cannot recall what they were about? The attendant repeatedly attempted to
communicate (in a condescending tone) with Phoenix, yet she had to ignore the
questions, for she was unsure why she had made the journey. The nurse came to
her rescue, and in so doing gave an explanation why “grandma” had made this
arduous voyage. She was caring for her grandson who was suffering from the
result of having swallowed lye; consequently at that level of medical and social
evolution meant being an invalid without any other sociological resources than
his grandmother. Despite these travails Phoenix Jackson retains her composure,
and more. Each of these incidents, although difficult to fully grasp within
context of modern society, is still painful. Once she manages to reach town she
manages to get a woman, busy with packages to assist her with one of her
difficulties, her untied shoe. At the clinic she manages to push the attendant
to 500% of her original offering. Subsequently she resolves to purchase her
grandson a paper windmill with the two nickel profit she made entering town.

These conflicts she faces only reflect the spirit shining from the character of
Phoenix Jackson.

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Welty, Eudora . “A Worn Path.” Literature an Introduction to reading and
Writing . Ed. Edgar V. Roberts, Henry E, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 1998.



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