What Is The Delusional Characterization In A Worn Path By Eudora Welty

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Characterization in Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path”: A Delusional Granny
Published in 1941, “A Worn Path,” written by Eudora Welty, is a short story filled with an array of themes. The theme of varying realities is one particular viewpoint which is represented. In this story the protagonist makes a journey into town to get medicine for her beloved grandson who is suffering from lye poisoning. Along the way she has interactions with multiple figures, both animate and inanimate that show lapses in her mental capacity. Many readers make the claim that she is delusional, evidenced by her behavior. Welty portrays the theme of varying realities through the delusional characterization of the protagonist, Phoenix Jackson, evidenced through the false belief
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Ordinarily, one would have no reason to question the credibility of this belief. However, this story is designed to reflect the theme of varying realities. In this case, the varying reality portrayed is that Phoenix’s grandson is actually dead, contrary to Phoenix’s perceived reality. The delusional characterization of Phoenix begins when she comes into contact with a scarecrow. After accusing the scarecrow of being a ghost, she comes back to her senses and makes the statement, “I ought to be shut up for good, my senses is gone..(58).” The incident with the scarecrow shows the intentional portrayal of the character’s state of mind by the author. The author uses this revelation through characterization so the reader will begin to question Phoenix. By making this statement, the reader can reasonably assume that the protagonist is on the verge of mental instability and might even be aware of this herself at times. This illustration of the protagonist’s sanity, or lack thereof, is quintessential of someone who is losing their mind. Clearly the author indicates that the mental competency of Phoenix is declining. Therefore, an inference may be drawn that shows Phoenix is confused by thinking her grandson is alive, even though he could be …show more content…
When asked by the nurse if her grandson is dead, Phoenix goes into a blank stare before answering with, “My grandson. It was my memory has left me. There I sat and forgot why I made my long trip (61).” It is bizarre that after making such a long journey, someone of sound mind could simply forget the reason they had come for. In general, only someone who is experiencing lapses in cognition could forget why they made such a long journey. As the visit continues, so does the characterization against her sanity. The next instance while visiting the nurse occurs when she is asked how long ago her grandson became poisoned. She responds by saying, “When was it-January-two-three years ago (62).” It is clear that Phoenix loves her grandson, as seen by her willingness to endure such a journey to get his needed medicine. If Phoenix is of sound mind, it is not likely she would be able to forget when the person she loves so much got sick. With each example of characterization as the story progresses, her sanity comes more into

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