Essays

The short story A Worn Path, by Eudora Welty

In the short story A Worn Path, by Eudora Welty there is only one main character Miss Phoenix Jackson, who is in barking on a journey that would lead her to the desired destination. Phoenix’s personality would change as she gathered more land with her persistent walking, passing through many different settings. Although the change in scenery is blately obvious it is sometimes what we over look, when trying to examine the characters attitude, or morals in different situations.

The attitude change in Miss Jackson is noticeable as she lumbers through the pines, crossing the stream, and again while sitting at the doctor’s office. When Phoenix is walking early in the morning she is amongst the pine trees that seems to engulf her, she shows her determination as she lumbers along the trail. With the motion in her step going from side to side in a manner that would sagest the pace that she is keeping, although is a slow in general, may be a little quicker then she would normally be maintaining.

This would be so that she could return before the sun goes down with the medicine for her little grandson. She knows this trail very well and walks with confidence, persistently taping the ground with her cane, possible not even looking at where it is her feet are landing. Upon the way she stops to scold and warn the foxes, and other small animals she was visualizing to stay out of her way that she had a far walk and that she must be getting on her way. She says this with a tone in her voice which I imagine to be a voice that a older women uses when they mean business and must finish what they set out to do.

Phoenix waves her cane much like someone would at a horse, to persuade it to continue on the path. As Phoenix approaches the stream it becomes obvious that the spirit and imagination inside of her is that of a child. It almost appears that Phoenix has reached the fountain of youth, which releases the child inside of her. She takes a large first step raising her knee high walking onto the log that resemble that of a marching band, while holding the small cane straight out as if to point the direction. This is an image of Phoenix is one that I would most likely associate with children.

She continues to dream, this time an image of a young man comes before her, most likely being an image of her grandson. She sits down in a most unusually fashion for a person with their shoes untied, placing herself down very softly and lady like. Crossing her legs is a way to show maturity, as little girls do not act in such a way. When the child is handing her piece of cake, that she would most graciosity accepts, she acknowledges the child and demising them showing her seniority. After taking a swipe at the piece of cake she gathers herself and continue down the path.

When sitting in the doctor’s office Phoenix display a completely different set of characteristic from with in her, this one being that she is feeling very awkward and apologetic. Up to this point she has shown us a different character trait each time she has encountered something or the scene changes, this will continue as she enters the big building. When getting into the building she is overcome by the size and elegance, which the building appears to her. In this building the golden sign, which hangs in the golden case acts much like a trigger to Phoenix much like the stream did.

As she stairs at all the gold she becomes silenent and still like a deer caught in headlights. As the attendants ask Phoenix what it is she has come for she continues to stair at the sign as if she didn’t know the language they where speaking. When the nurse enters the room where Phoenix is sitting she begins to explain to the other nurse the situation, while never once being interrupted by phoenix to finish giving a description of her purpose. When Phoenix was asked a question by the staff and did not answer right away she would later be very apologetic and came up with several reasons for the lack of communication.

The way you will carry yourself through a certain situation is very much affected by what is surrounding you. A character, in this story Phoenix, would change their attitude or tendencies ten out of ten time if put but into different scene dealing with the same issues. Although the change in her attitude cannot be related directly to the scenery it is one was to classify the changes. Phoenix shows her attitude change as treks out of the pines over the hill and continuing to follow the path leading her to the doctor’s office.

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