A Worn Path

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"Journey of the Phoenix" Symbolism is a very important element used in works of fiction. In the short story "A Worn Path" by Eudora Welty, symbolism is used throughout the story, and gives her characters added significance. The symbol of the main character, Phoenix, an old grandmother, represents the ancient Egyptian myth of the Phoenix and its rebirth. The setting is also symbolic, a cold December day in the dark and deep woods. Objects used in the story, such as the hunter, the nickel, and the snake, were images of obstacles standing in Phoenix's way throughout her journey. Symbols are very meaningful images representing something else, and in this story they are plentiful.

The legend of the Phoenix comes from Egypt, and states that after one hundred years, the Phoenix rose from the ashes and experienced a sort of rebirth or renewal. In "A Worn Path", Phoenix is a grandmother on her way to get medicine for her ill grandson who had already passed away.

She made the hard journey all the way to town because she cannot yet accept reality, and is living in mourning. She states, "We is the only two left in the world. He suffer and it don't seem to put him back at all. He got a sweet look. He going to last" (110). The meaning of the symbol represents the grandmother on her own journey to be renewed by overcoming her grief for her grandson.

The setting in "A Worn Path" is the forest, on a path that the grandmother has worn out on her previous travels to town for her grandson. The woods are deep and very quiet, and the hills make it difficult for Phoenix to continue. The narrator says, "The path ran up a...