A Worn Path Phoenix Jackson Analysis

Superior Essays
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

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Because Phoenix Jackson fell into that ditch, she began to question herself and her reasons to keep going to town. The hunter showed up during her journey just as she fell into the ditch because this was the moment that Phoenix began to give up on her journey. Despite her fall and the hunters attempts to make her go home, Phoenix remained persistent in going to town. The only reason that Phoenix was able to make it to town was because of her own persistence and her ability to remain strong, no matter how many times her own temptation tried to get the best of…

    • 1205 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    It was very apparent that April (Turtle) felt comfortable with Taylor and genuinely viewed her as a mother figure, or at least as an older sister. But one day while Taylor was off at work, she left Turtle alone with a neighbor, Edna Poppy. Edna is blind, so she didn’t see when someone came up to Turtle and began to abuse her. Naturally, they called the police and they arrived with a social worker. April and Taylor met with the social worker multiple times before she dropped the bombshell that April will be taken away since she is considered a ward of the state.…

    • 991 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Babysitting Essay

    • 838 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Your experience, knowledge and understanding can affect how you understand something that you observe. You’re listening to Max’s story first while he gives you eye contact as he speaks. You know that he’s either hurt or very upset about his superman toy being planted in the cake. When Mia tells her story, you know she wasn’t giving you any eye contact the entire time. You don’t know if she’s making her story up because she looked frightened and didn’t give you any eye contact at all.…

    • 838 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    “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” (Welty 1). In Roland Bartel’s article, “Life And Death In Eudora Welty’s ‘A Worn Path’, he say, “What concerns me about these discussions is that they treat Phoenix Jackson as a stereotype and allow the obvious archetypal significance of her name and her journey to overshadow the uniqueness of one of the most memorable women in short fiction” (288). Therefore, she is a very memorable women, but most readers do not see her as…

    • 1092 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Yellow Wallpaper Theme

    • 1091 Words
    • 5 Pages

    During this time, women did not have access to mental health treatment like they do today. Most people had to suffer with their mental conditions in silence and never get help for it. It is interesting how the narrator’s husband is a doctor but cannot see how mental ill his own wife is. It is obvious quickly that the narrator has post-partum depression. She just delivered a baby, but in her writings, she barely discusses it.…

    • 1091 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    She puts on a brave face for so long that she is unable to find her former, content and youthful self. Miss Bates worries about money, social status and people’s opinion of her too much that it consumes her and becomes all she can think about. She tries to distract herself with constant chatter and social interactions, but it is only a matter of time before the fake smiles wear off and she cracks. Unfortunately, she does not share her pain and hurting with anyone, so it builds up over time. This leads to depression and a numbness that is beyond a point of fixing.…

    • 1033 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    A party which he did not include Janie in because he was “too skeered” that she would take issue with the type of people that he associated with and leave him. After this incident Janie reassures Tea Cake of her love for him, telling him she wants to “partake wid everything” and Tea Cake reciprocates by sharing with her everything about himself, flaws and all. Even still, they both face the issue of jealousy later in their marriage. When Janie catches Tea Cake “struggling” in the fields with Nunkie, she reacts violently. After a loud and physical altercation, the reaffirm their love for one another and the issue is resolved until Mrs. Turner, an arrogant mulatto woman with a contempt for black people, although she is partially black herself, attempts to influence Janie to leave Tea Cake in favor of her fair skinned brother.…

    • 2598 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    This is seen when “a little chunky girl took to picking a play out of Tea Cake in the fields and in the quarters” (136) down at the muck. Janie is remarkably paranoid when Tea Cake and this girl are fooling around due to the fact that he has misused power in their relationship before, wearing out her trust in Tea Cake for the continuation of their…

    • 983 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    I think that because she does not get to interact with others often, and the times that she does she is continuously being told that she is not sick, leads her to fear mentioning anything that has to do with her illness. However, the fact that she is to socializing and cannot express her feelings with others is what leads to her madness. Eventually, she begins to lose a sight of who she is. Overtime, throughout the text she slowly stopped voicing her opinion and began doing everything her husband told her to do. For instance, John tells her, “Don’t go walking about like that-you’ll get cold.” (Gilman, 365).…

    • 2023 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Juli was sure that she will not come down from the tree. Juli is a extremely determined girl and no one could stop her. Juli not only is determined about the tree, but she is also determined in her usual life. After Bryce criticizes Juli’s yard, she decided to fix her yard by her own. Soon afterwards Juli wanted to give up because it was so difficult and complicated to fix the yard.…

    • 912 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays

Related Topics