The Role Of Phoenix Jackson In Eudora Welty's A Worn Path

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In Eudora Welty's “A Worn Path” she chooses for the narrator to take a non-participating role to characterize Phoenix Jackson, who is the protagonist. The characterization helps show the symbolism behind “bird-like” references to Phoenix and other ideas in the story. It also helps bring out traits in Phoenix especially the fact of how she is obstinate. Throughout the story bird references are very common. On the surface she is portrayed as an old lady journeying to get medicine for her grandson but behind the text she is the mythical bird. The name of the protagonist herself is “Phoenix” Jackson implying that the references to birds have deeper meaning. A phoenix is a mythical bird that flames up, dies and reincarnates many years later. Phoenix …show more content…
However there is no real structure to the time. It seems free flowing almost like it has been around forever. This would make sense with the context of Phoenix. She is portrayed as a mythical bird which has been around forever so time would have no real influence on her. (line 25-26) Phoenix claims to have once seen a two headed snake. However it could be because of her age and she has gone delusional, but it could also be that since the mythical bird has been around for all of time there might once have been a real two headed snake, “pleasure i don't see no two headed snake...took a while to get by him back in the summer.” As time takes its course, later Phoenix reaches the nurse's office or hospital and says “we is the only two left in the world,” (line 19.) She is referring to her grandson when she refers to “only two.” The nurse thinks Phoenix is just crazy due to her age, however she is referring to herself as the Phoenix and her grandson as the other. Phoenix also talks about her grandson like he too is a phoenix, (line 21) “holding his mouth open like a little bird.” Based from knowledge on the mythical bird, the Phoenix needs a predecessor to arise from its ashes. This confirms that she is talking about her grandson as the other bird. Each time Phoenix Jackson makes the journey to get the medicine marks another one of her reincarnation cycles, and when her grandsons throat closes is when she arises from his ashes to take her journey again. Although the narrator is not in the story it allows for the characterization of Phoenix Jackson to be the most effective. The supporting characters allow for things to be said and interpreted in many different ways when it is looked further into the text, such as Phoenix Jackson being the

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