Up from the Ashes...Character Analysis "A Worn Path."

Essay by Ltamtam4University, Bachelor'sA-, April 2004

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Up From the Ashes

Phoenix Jackson, although, old and frail, draws upon her immense love for her ailing grandson which enables her to enthusiastically produce forbearance, ingenuity, and resiliency as she continues her struggle of life. Eudora Welty in her short story, "A Worn Path," gives the name "Phoenix," to the protagonist, in which the name itself, describes the tale to be told. A Phoenix is a mythological Egyptian firebird, who rises out of the ashes of its former self. This magnificent bird regenerates itself after five hundred years and lives on for five hundred more. This character rises from the ashes of her trial and tribulations she has had to endure throughout her life, so that her grandson will have a chance. Phoenix is a hero, who proves that true love endures all. The responsibility to her grandson is her only reason to continue life's struggle. Welty symbolically illustrates the hurdles that one must face through the perseverance of an aging black woman.

In each of the deterrents that she encounters, Phoenix Jackson metaphorically confronts these endeavors of love and life. The path represents the journey, which she has taken throughout her existence. Her radiating determination to climb the hill even though it feels that chains are bound around her feet shows how strong of a character she really has become. Once at the top, she realizes how strong she has become, although she is still old and tired. This encourages her to continue as she has done so many times before as she states, "I in the thorny bush, Thorns doing your appointed work. Never want to let folks pass." As she pulls herself free from one obstacle, she becomes entangled in another just as she does in life. Phoenix loves to test her strength exclaiming;...