Final paper Literary Analysis

Running Head: A Worn Path 0

A Worn Path

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Kaleena Springsteen

ENG 125 Introduction to Literature

Jennifer Lapinel-Spincken

February 27, 2017

Week 3

My prompt is #3: “In this story, the character comes into conflict with nature.”

Working Thesis

“A Worn Path” is invested with religious meaning which cannot be only universally felt, but it endures and goes beyond its regionalism. An elderly black woman named Phoenix Jackson is seen walking to the Natchez City looking for medicine for her sick grandson. Due to her aging life, she is struggling with poor eyesight and intense fatigue among many other obstacles along the way. These are elements that heighten symbolic nature as well as lyricism of the narrative.

Love as being part of nature is another major center of focus in the life of Phoenix (Gale 2016). She walks along the way despite the obstacles she came across in the journey like falling in the ditch when she was trying to hit the black dog with her walking stick but never gave up. The young boy she met along the way even tried to ask her to get back home, “Now you go on home Granny!” but she insisted as quoted in the story “I bound to go town, mister.” The love she had for her grandson could not allow her just to stay and he wallows in pain since he could not swallow anything again as she is quoted saying “No Miss, he is not dead, he is just the same. Every little while his throat begins to close up again, and he was not able to swallow…” She feels the pain that her grandson has to go through to the extent that she lost her thoughts when she was being asked by the nurse about the condition of her grandson. She narrated it accompanied by the frown shown on her face and how withdrawn she was from the rest in the clinic. All this struggle and restlessness that have been portrayed in the story brings about the sense of love nature parents have for their children (Hofer 2014). Her ability to communicate was affected though that could still not change the love she had for her grandson or even make her give up in search for medicine for her grandson.

“A Worn Path” further shows kindness and generosity as one of the conflicts of nature themes (Hofer 2014). When Phoenix was at the clinic, the hospital attendant was generous enough and wanted to offer her some pennies where she preferred to be given a nickel as quoted in the story attendant saying “It’s Christmas time, Grandma, could I give you a few pennies out of my purse?” the grandma said that the five cents the attendant wanted to give her were equivalent to a nickel, “Five pennies is a nickel,” as stiffly said Phoenix and then she was handed a penny. “Here is a nickel” “A Worn Path” (Eudora Welty, 1941), which were the words said by the clinic attendant to the grandma (Phoenix). The feeling of human nature in the hospital attendant let her feel for the Granny whom she saw helpless with the thoughts of her grandson sickness. Another instance of kindness in the story is shown through a young boy who met Phoenix along the way and helped her to get up from the ditch where she was lying after falling in when she tried to hit the black dog. “What are you doing there?” asked the boy. The Granny replied “lying on my back like a June-bug waiting to be turned over, mister.” The boy lifted her up swinging her and raising further concern if the granny was well “Anything Broken, Granny?” “A Worn Path (Eudora Welty, 1941), this question as used in the story as being asked by the boy shows a great concern and compassion the young boy had for the Granny (Hofer 2014). The Granny was as well shown kindness by a lady she met in town when she requested the lady to help lace up her shoes, “Please, Missy, will you lace up my shoe?” as the Granny. “What do you want, Grandma?” “Stand still then Grandma.” The lady then lace up her shoes, the lady in town was just on her own business not having anything to do with the Granny, but upon the request, Granny made to her, she showed human nature by lacing up the shoes as requested. Phoenix only chose on the beautiful lady who was loaded with some Christmas shopping to help her lace up her shoes. She is quoted saying “thank you, missy. I don’t mind requesting a nice lady to tie my shoe when I get out on the street.” A Worn Path (Eudora Welty 1941), she perceived the lady to be nice and even associated her appearance to the way she would help in doing the requested task (Gale 2016).

The health condition of Phoenix’s grandson makes her even lose her memory at the clinic and she could not even respond to the questions asked by the nurse that made her feel withdrawn. After that, she now looks on and talked endlessly about the pain she had for her grandson.


Gale, C. L. (2016). A Study Guide to Eudora Welty’s A Worn Path. Farmington Hills: Gale, Cengage Learning.

Hofer, F. (2014). Life is a journey – an interpretation of eudora weltys “a worn path.” Place of publication not identified: Grin Verlag.

Welty, E. (1941). A Worn Path. Retrieved February 25, 2017, from

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