Welty was a photographer for the WPA, which also included many arts programs, and as she observed an elderly black woman laboriously crossing a field, the idea for “A Worn Path” emerged.
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How is racism illustrated in “A Worn Path”
- Slavery is over but racism is still abundant as evidenced by the white hunter
- The hunter even aims a gun at her, asking "doesn't the gun scare you?"
- A lack of respect for her age/position in society
Setting and Structure
The theme of “A Worn Path” is strength in the face of adversity.
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It is Old Phoenix's love for her grandson that causes her to face the trial of the journey to town, every time it is necessary, with no questions asked.
The tension of the story stems from the obstacles she encounters, which come from nature, society and herself, including barbed wire, a dog, a white hunter, and flashbacks/hallucinations that involve her grandson.
A Worn Path By: Eudora Welty
Eudora Alice Welty (April 13, 1909 – July 23, 2001) was an American author of short stories and novels about the American South.
Eudora Welty was born in Jackson, Mississippi
Eudora’s mother was a schoolteacher.
Subtle Tones of Racism in “a Worn Path” - Term Paper
Eudora soon developed a love of reading, reinforced by her mother who believed that "any room in our house, at any time in the day, was there to read in, or to be read to".
While Welty worked as a publicity agent for the Works Progress Administration, she took photographs of people from all economic and social classes in her spare time.
FREE Racism in A Worn Path by Eudora Welty Essay
In her short story “A Worn Path”, Eudora Welty communicates this timeless theme through the protagonist, Phoenix, who has traveled this path many times.
Literary Analysis - Phoenix's Hardships and Racism in A Worn Path ..
The title, "A Worn Path," indicates that Phoenix has obviously walked down this path many times before-also the fact that she can cross a creek with her eyes closed confirms the title's message....
FREE Racism In A Worn Path Essay - ExampleEssays
In this short story a black elderly woman, Phoenix Jackson, must overcome the odds against her as she valiantly travels through many obstacles in order to contribute to the wellness of her grandson, for whom she is making this trip down "a worn path." It is at this point that all of Welty's readers' hearts open up to this poor, elderly woman as she makes an attempt to carry on her love for her grandson by taking a long journey down a familiar path in order to get medication that seems to help ease his sicknes...
Race and Racism in A Worn Path …
Examples can be found within the short story "A Worn Path",
“A Worn Path” is set in the rural South, containing elements of both nature and society.
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This will provide opportunities for further testing and episodes of adventure which can create suspense for the eventual success of the quest itself.
How is "A Worn Path" an example of a quest story?
Phoenix – rise from the ashes of sacrifice for the benefit of others
Jackson – Welty's hometown (Jackson, Miss); also a well-respected historical/political figure; gain respect and pride by adopting such an important and regular “American” name by a former slave
The Worn Path – cycle of journey to be repeated
Umbrella cane – poverty and age
Additional symbols to consider:
1) the marble cake
2) the black dog
3) cotton & corn fields
4) the scarecrow
5) mistletoe tree
THEME: RACE AND RACISM
Phoenix’s brief encounters on her journey typify the views of many Southern whites during the era.