A Worn Path Phoenix Jackson Analysis

When a family member becomes ill many people will begin to sacrifice all they have to see the person well again. Phoenix Jackson, in Eudora Welty’s short story “A Worn Path” not only gives up all she has but her dignity as well. Phoenix Jackson is an elderly African-American woman who survived the cruelty of slavery before and during the Civil War. She is described as plain, wrinkled, and socially unimportant. When her grandson becomes ill after swallowing lye Phoenix Jackson travels to the doctor’s office in town from her house in the country on a regular basis to retrieve medicine for her grandson. The medicine is given to her as charity and the office sees her as a nuisance. During the trip, she encounters obstacles and different characters …show more content…
She has a few fears and is wary of what she might encounter, but she pushes on. Confidently she states, "Out of my way, all you foxes, owls, beetles, jack rabbits, coons and wild animals! Keep out from under these feet, little bob-whites. Keep the big wild hogs out of my path. Don 't let none of those come running my direction. I got a long way (Eudora, 1)." Even though she is an elderly woman Jackson does not allow the obstacles of the journey to keep her from completing her mission. At the beginning of her journey, she becomes trapped in thorns. Frustrated she works to set herself free. She continues walking without a problem intent on getting to town. When Jackson reaches a creek she crosses over by walking on a log that is laid across the creek. After successfully crossing she says, “I wasn’t as old as I thought (Eudora, 1).” Jackson proves that her age is not a factor when it comes to her task. As she continues on her journey she ignores fears and talks to inanimate objects like a scarecrow and to herself to keep herself going. When she encounters a hunter she proves that she is a woman who has her mind set on what she must do and will not allow others to stop her. The hunter encourages and then demands that she turn around and go home, but she refuses. She becomes stern with the hunter and with confidence she states, “I bound to go to town, mister (Eudora, 1).” Even when the hunter points his gun at her …show more content…
She is an eccentric character is many ways. For example, as she travels she talks to inanimate objects. It could be the cause of loneliness and the cause of fear, but the reader is thrown off by her strange conversations with different objects as she travels. After crossing the creek, she sits down to rest. While resting, she begins to hallucinate and sees a little boy bring her a piece of cake. She talks to the boy and reaches for the cake, but neither is actually there. To a buzzard she asks, “Who you watching (Eudora, 1)?” When Jackson encounters people she shows that she is uneducated and has no concern for social status. Each character is taken aback by her. The nurses at the doctor’s office do not seem to know how to handle her. She sits motionless in the waiting room without answering questions until her memory is jogged. She plainly states, “My grandson. It was my memory had left me. There I sat and forgot why I made my long trip (Eudora, 1).” Most would not make a long trip if they had no apparent reason to make the trip. She acts in a way that causes concern and makes people uncomfortable. The other characters see her as off-putting and

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