A worn path

Essay by lov3joyCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 2005

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In Eudora Welty's short story "A Worn Path," we understand that you can achieve anything with motivation. The woman in this story Ms. Phoenix Jackson had to go through many obstacles just to get some medicine for her sick grandson. She makes this trip like clockwork, for the past three years she has been doing it. In this story you will see the struggles that a grandmother will make for her grandson. Ms. Jackson has to withstand people, mental obstacles, and natural obstacles she comes across.

In this short story Ms. Jackson also has to deal with the obstacles of people. This story takes place in 1940 Mississippi, which is pre-civil war era. The only people she encounters is white. Ms. Jackson deals with the white hunter. This hunter finds Ms. Jackson in a ditch and helps her up but after helping her up he sticks a gun in her face but she is not scared and stands up to this man.

He asks her where she is headed and she tells him to town. He tells her that is too far and she needs to go home. While in the town she waits for someone to come along to tie her shoe. Then she finds a white lady to tie them. It is as if Ms. Jackson knew to ask a lady to tie her shoes. The last two people she talks to are the secretary and the nurse at the doctor's office. The nurse calls her Aunt Phoenix and asks about her grandson. The nurse gets the medicine for his throat and tells the secretary it is for charity case. Then the secretary tells Ms. Jackson that it is the Christmas season and she gets money out of her purse because she feels sorry for Ms. Jackson. All of the people Ms. Jackson encounters are all caring people and they help her in some way. They also call Ms. Jackson grandma or Aunt as if they are showing her some kind of respect.

The mental obstacle is very difficult for Ms. Phoenix Jackson, as she has to travel one whole day to town for her grandson. She is very old and she can't tie her own shoes because she can't bend over far enough to reach them. She is also poor and can't afford a cane so instead she uses an umbrella. Nobody knows where Ms. Jackson lives and this could be tragic for her grandson if she dies. While traveling to town Ms. Jackson stops to rest and while doing so she starts daydreaming of a little boy bringing her a piece of marble-cake. For a minute she thought this was reality but she soon realized it was not. Along the way to town she comes upon a hunter and a nickel fell out of his pocket. Ms. Jackson picks up the nickel without his knowledge and she says. " God watching me the whole time" (141 paragraph 54). So she has some religion in her life and she does have some morality. While waiting in the doctors office Ms. Phoenix forgets why she is even there. As she gets older, her memory is beginning to fade. She doesn't have a lot of education but she is a smart lady. She does have enough intelligence such as the secretary in the doctors office offers her some pennies and Phoenix says, "Five pennies is a nickel" (143 paragraph99). Even though she does have some negative aspects, there are some positive things about her.

The last and final obstacle Phoenix Jackson comes in contact with is the natural difficulty. Ms. Jackson is an elderly woman who walks all the way to town and back home and this takes here one whole day. The woods are very rough terrain and this is the only way to get to town. To cross a creek Ms. Jackson has to walk on a log that was laid across it. Also thorns are getting snagged on her dress and she walks through fields of old cotton. She then walks into a field of dead corn and it whispered and shook and was taller than her head. She says "Through the maze now" (140 paragraph 21) because there was no path. Then she comes across something tall, black, skinny and moving before her. She thinks it a man and then she thinks it might be a ghost. She asked, "who be you the ghost of? For I have heard of nary death close by" (140 paragraph 24). There was no answer. She touched its sleeve and realized that it was just a scarecrow. Not only is Ms. Jackson's body is wearing down but now her mind is playing tricks on her. While walking she comes across a dog and she is very frightened of it but the hunter shoes the dog away. Ms. Jackson has a lot of natural obstacles that try to stop her from completing her journey but she succeeds every time.

Ms. Phoenix Jackson is a courageous, brave, and a lady who would sacrifice anything for her grandson. Her name says it all. A phoenix is a bird that builds its self a nest of wood and every 500 years the sun burst it into flames. Even though the bird has to rebuild it still lives and never gives up. She is like a phoenix and will keep on rising. This poem explains to us that no matter what the circumstances are and no matter what condition you are in you can overcome any obstacle. The well being of her grandson and her self-sacrifice will keep her alive. The moral of this story is never to give up. You will survive and don't let anything stop you.