A Worn Paths

A Worn Path “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty, is the tale of the unstoppable love and care of a grandmother for her grandchild. It tells a story of sheer determination as Phoenix Jackson makes a long journey into town to get medicine for her chronically ill grandson. She strives forward despite frequent obstacles in her way that include her own failing health and the grandchild’s slim chance of survival. Phoenix Jackson is “an old Negro woman” who continues forward over barriers that would not even be considered a hindrance for the young. This is a journey which she has taken before, and now “the time come around” she must travel it again. She begins her journey to town on “a bright frozen day in the early morning” in December. Phoenix Jackson is “very old and small “, and walks like the “pendulum in a grandfather clock” ever so carefully with her “thin, small cane made from an umbrella.” The description of Phoenix Jackson at the beginning of this story gives the reader a glimpse of how difficult this trip is going to be for an elderly woman such as her. The description “Her eyes were blue with age. Her skin has a pattern all its own of numberless branching wrinkles” are indications of Phoenix Jackson’s old age. She supports herself with a cane, striving not to fall with every step she takes. She wears a “dress reaching down to her shoe tops” along with “an equally long apron of bleached sugar sacks, with a full pocket.” This just adds to her difficulties. As she begins her journey, she talks to herself and warns “Out of my way, all you foxes, owls, beetles, jack rabbits, coons and wild animals!…Keep out from under these feet, little bob-whites”, because as she says, “I got a long way.” She is determined to go down that path despite anything that might come between her and getting the medicine for her grandson. This shows that her body may be worn out, but the attitude that she takes and desire that she …

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