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A Worn Avenue Welty Eudora British Literature Essay

A Worn Path is considered one of Weltys most distinguished and frequently analyzed works of short fiction. Deceptively simple in shade and scope, the story is structured after a quest motif that comes with a rich texture of symbolic interpretation. According to Alfred Appel, "'A Worn Course' passes much beyond its regionalism due to its remarkable fusion of varied components of myth and story, which invest the story with a spiritual and therefore can be universally experienced. "

Plot and Major Characters

"A Worn Route" identifies the journey of your elderly black female known as Phoenix Jackson who strolls from her home to the city of Natchez to get treatments for her unwell grandson. The panorama as Phoenix perceives it becomes an initial concentration of the vividly evoked narrative; mother nature is depicted as alternately beautiful and since an impediment to Phoenix's improvement. As she walks, she battles against intense tiredness and poor eyesight, as well consequently road blocks as thorn bushes and barbed line. The combined ramifications of her old age, her poor perspective, and her poetic view of the world heighten the lyricism and symbolism of the narrative. For example, she flaws a scarecrow for a dancing "ghost" until she draws close enough to touch its bare sleeve. A particularly tense occurrence occurs when she encounters a white hunter who shows up friendly at first, but then makes a condescending recommendation that she is probably "going to town to see Santa Claus. " When he inadvertently drops a nickel, Phoenix distracts him and manages to pick it up, sensing that she actually is stealing as she will so. The hunter instantly points his weapon at her, even though he may have observed her pick up the nickel, it is unclear what his real motivation is because of this intimidating gesture. Phoenix, however, does not appear afraid; the hunter lowers his firearm and she handles to continue on her behalf way unharmed and without going back the nickel. Finally reaching the "shining" city of Natchez, Phoenix enters the "big building"-presumably a hospital-where a nurse questions her about her grandson, requesting if he has perished. Phoenix remains strangely noiseless at first, as though deaf to the nurse's questions. She then apologizes, proclaiming that her memory had out of the blue failed her-that for an instant, she cannot remember why she possessed made her long journey. The story concludes with Phoenix's heartfelt explanation of her grandson, whose neck was injured several years ago when he swallowed lye. She declares that he's not dead, will get the medication for him, along with another nickel, with which she makes a decision to buy him a Christmas present-a "little windmill. "

Major Themes

Phoenix Jackson emerges in "A Worn Journey" as a identity who endures; she actually is the symbol of perseverance, endurance, and life when confronted with hardship and fatality. Commentators have mentioned that her large fortitude in making the long journey by walking and alone factors to these qualities, as does indeed the mythological significance of her name, Phoenix-an Egyptian bird symbolizing resurrection. Christian symbolism is also obvious in the narrative. For example, the actual fact that the storyplot is set through the Holiday season has led some critics to associate Phoenix's journey recover of a spiritual pilgrimage; her selfless matter on her behalf grandson is interpreted as representing the true spirit of giving and self-sacrifice. While much of the story's element rests on the imagistic and symbolic use of terminology, the action of the storyline also shows Phoenix in direct conflict with the outside world-a society run by white individuals who have little respect or understanding on her behalf situation. A man hunting in the forest assumes that she'll town just "to see Santa Claus, " while a nurse dismisses her as a "charity" case and offers little sympathy for the plight of Phoenix's suffering grandson. As the story is totally free from authorial intrusion or explanatory commentary, the images and occasions that arise in the narrative stay open to a variety of reader interpretations.

Critical Reception

Critical discussion of "A Worn Path" largely has been worried about thematic interpretation of the work, specially the story's racial, mythological, and Christian motifs. Focusing mainly on the story's Religious motifs, Neil D. Isaacs looked at Phoenix's Christmas voyage as a "faith based pilgrimage" with an ironic end that suggests "greed, problem, cynicism. " Also emphasizing Christian themes in the work, Sara Treeman directed to story's theme of self-sacrifice, noting that the worn way "is worn because this is actually the symbolic journey made by all who can handle self-sacrifice, of whom Christ is the archetype. " The presence of secular mythology in the written text in addition has been the subject of discussion by such critics as Dan Donlan, who recognized the prominence of the Egyptian myth of the Phoenix in the structure and symbolism of the storyline. Frank Ardolino argued for a conflation of mythological and Christian interpretations of the work, exhibiting how "combined with the Religious motifs of rebirth, the cycles of natural imagery offered create the theme of life emerging from death. " The racial element of "A Worn Route" has also been a subject of critical discourse. William Jones commented in 1957 that "[t]he main reason that Pass up Welty opt for Negro appears to be that only a comparatively simple, uncivilized specific is worthy of representing the powerful pushes which inspires such love as hers for her grandchild. " John R. Cooley, on the other hand, argued for a broader communal reading of the storyline, criticizing the sentiment of the task and accusing Welty of failing to "develop her racial portraits with sufficient awareness or depth. " Nancy K. Butterworth taken care of immediately Cooley's assessment among others with the observation that "[s]uch polemical demythologizings issue with Welty's continual refusal to work with fiction as a program, particularly for political or sociological issues, as well as her downplaying and even disavowal of racial implications in her experiences. "

Cite this page the following:

"A Worn Way, Eudora Welty - Benefits. " Short Report Criticism. Ed. Anna J. Bedding. Vol. 27. Gale Cengage, 1998. eNotes. com. 14 Dec, 2012 <http://www. enotes. com/worn-path-essays/worn-path-eudora-welty/introduction

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