“A Worn Path” is a story about the self-sacrifice and courage of vulnerable people in the name of a loved one. Written almost 80 years ago, the narrative remains relevant until now. The current paper claims that “A Worn Path” describes a feat that is minor in the context of all humanity, but indeed it is a great achievement for someone. Phoenix’s journey is not a quest for fame, wealth, or truth; rather, it is a search for a better life for those who still have the future.
To begin with, Phoenix’s journey resembles the rebirth of the sacred Phoenix bird. As well as the bird resurrects from the ashes repeatedly, the old lady makes her journey countless times. Welty even gives a hint to this thought through the description of the protagonist’s appearance. The author writes, “…the two knobs of her cheeks were illumined by a yellow burning under the dark”. She also states that Phoenix’s hair was “still black, and with an odor like copper”. Such a depiction creates an image of an elderly woman that does not lose the strength of her soul. It is this internal force that makes her perform the feat despite all obstacles. She has to disregard racial blames, threats, fatigue, and disrespect. She may have already gotten used to ignoring difficulties on her way. In this case, the habit of not retreating and moving on whatever the circumstances, is the first Phoenix’s feat that the reader faces. The other significant achievement deals with the reason for her journey.
The goal that Phoenix pursues is that she needs to buy medicine for her grandson. Therefore, she endures the sufferings and inconveniences for probably the only person she protects and loves. Remarkably, she spends two nickels not on her own needs but on a present to her child who has never seen tiny windmills before. It should be mentioned that knights get fame, respect, and recognition when they defeat an enemy or save a princess. However, the woman receives nothing except for her grandson’s temporary wellbeing.
Talking about the relation of the narrative to the personal level, it is essential to note that I see Phoenix’s actions as an example of what everyone should strive to achieve. Everyone should know how to scarify himself or herself for the close person. Nowadays, the meaning of love became devalued, and even though in the whole story, there is not a single mention that this woman loves her grandson, the readers know it for sure. For me, this story became a reminder that we have a duty to protect those whom we truly cherish. Apart from that, the story made me think that too little attention is paid to non-familiar people who ask for help.
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that “A Worn Path” discusses a big feat of a little man. It is a story about courage and resurrection for those who actually need it. Even though the narrative is short, it illustrates almost the whole life of a person. Phoenix’s life became dedicated to the journey to the town where she could get medicine. The most important inference from Welty’s work is that to make a significant action, it is not necessary to beat new paths. It is enough to follow your worn path, which no one else would choose.
Welty, Eudora. A Worn Path., 1941. Print.