Holding On

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate January 2002

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April 30, 2001 Essay 4 Holding On The Phoenix is a mythological bird that dies in order to be reborn for another five centuries. In the short story, "A Worn Path," Eudora Welty gives the character Phoenix such a name because of the year after year journey that she makes for her grandson who is no longer alive.

Although Welty did not make direct comparison between that of Phoenix Jackson and the mythological Phoenix, Welty did make meritable parallelisms between the two. Welty describes the character Phoenix giving her the appearance of the mythological bird. "A golden color ran underneath and the two knobs of her cheeks were illuminated by a yellow burning under the dark. Under the red rag, her hair came down on her neck in the frailest of ringlets, still in black, and with an odor like copper"(Welty 363). This description of old Phoenix's face under the golden light and the mention of Phoenix's red rag resembles the mythological bird's red (scarlet) and gold feathers (Donlan).

The journeys of both the character Phoenix and the bird Phoenix are both journeys of rebirth. The Phoenix bird rebirths itself by burning itself on its nest. The bird then comes up from the ashes a new, young bird. This ritual is displayed in the character Phoenix in each journey that she takes to Natchez (Donlan). In route to Natchez to get medicine for her grandson, the old Phoenix takes her weary soul and empties it in the hospital, and leaves for Natchez Trace with her new "rejuvenated" self (Bartel).

Phoenix's journey to Natchez is not only a rebirth for her, but also a rebirth of her grandson who is dead. "My little grandson, he sit up there in the house all wrapped up, waiting by himself," "¦ "We is the...