Free Essay Example - A Worn Path by Eudora Wiley

Published: 2023-08-27
Free Essay Example - A Worn Path by Eudora Wiley
Essay type:  Book review
Categories:  Character analysis Books Writers
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1127 words
10 min read

A Worn Path by Eudora Wiley is a short story that gives an account of an old African American named Phoenix Jackson who sets on a journey to look for medicine for his ailing grandson. Jackson walks through a thicket and uses a walking stick made from an umbrella. She is determined to go to the town and get medication. Jackson encounters several obstacles on the way, but because of her resilient spirit, determination, and love for her grandson, she does not give up on the road. The purpose of the author is to explore various themes, which include selfless love, challenges of race, and the resilient human spirit. The author wants to depict the unselfish love that Jackson has for her grandson and also a portrayal of the unrelenting human spirit which pushes the older woman to defy the odds of her old age to seek a solution for an ailing person. Jackson furthers her purpose in the story through various literary devices, which include; symbolism, simile, metaphor, monologue, characterization, and magnificent setting.

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The purpose of the author writing the story is because she wanted to put down something about the people of Mississippi. She was an African American woman and being from the south, there were a lot of issues the people of color went through, and by giving a narration, it reflects some of the challenges African Americans went through. Besides, Jackson explains that she loves writing literature about the people of Mississippi, and they are grateful to her for such a noble act (Boyd, Pepperdene & Welty p.49). In the book "The Voice of the Mind of the South," she explains that the people thanked her for all the books she had written about Mississippi (Boyd, Pepperdene & Welty p.49). Similarly, Welty explains that because she is also a photographer, the picture she takes in different places prompts her to write something about them. However, she explains that it has to be something that will give her memories, and a worn path is a story that could be speaking about her experiences and what she witnessed in the south. The story is a memory of an older woman that Jackson says she never took a picture of her but saw her from a distance where she says the woman was painting, and the author was writing something (Boyd, Pepperdene & Welty p.49). Jackson says she could tell that the woman was intentional and seemed like she was going for an errand, and this is a typical reflection of the old woman in the story "a worn path."

The author uses metaphor as one of her literary devices in the story. Firstly, the word "path" in the story is a symbolic representation of the journey that the old woman took to find medicine for her sick grandson. The path represents the entire decision to set out and find a lasting solution for her grandson. The way is full of thickets, barbed wires, as well as animals, among others, and this is a symbolic representation of the challenges she encounters as a black woman looking for a solution in a white privileged society. The author states, "Now and then there was a quivering in the thicket. Old Phoenix said, "Out of my way, all you foxes, owls, beetles, jackrabbits, coons and wild animals!.... Keep out from under these feet, little bob-whites... Keep the big wild hogs out of my path” (Welty paragraph 3). It is an indication of the challenges that she encounters on the way to finding a solution. Besides, Jackson’s endurance is a symbolic portrayal of the pain and suffering that the black people went through in the depths south region. It nuances her purpose, which is to write about the African American people and the challenges they go through.

Additionally, Welty uses similes’ in her story to explore her purpose and enrich her piece. One of the metaphors is "like the chirping of a solitary little bird”(Welty paragraph 1). The words have been used to describe the sound produced by the walking stick Jackson uses as he walks through the thicket. The sound produced from the tapping of the cane is a comparison of a bird trying to find balance. It is a representation of her physical impairment as she tries to find balance. It is an indication that Jackson cannot fly, but she cannot also walk without support because of her old age. It helps to bring up her purpose of depicting the difficulties of early African American women, as well as others, are going through. They are not only physically impaired but also economically as they do not have the right to amassing wealth.

Similarly, the use of significant themes such as self-less love, determination, and endurance is also a great literary device that has been employed by the author to bring out the purpose of her work. The theme of love is portrayed by the older woman's journey to a distant place to get medication for her ailing son. Despite her old age and the challenges she encounters on the ways Jackson does not give up because of the love she has for her grandson and does not want to lose her grandson her determination is shown when she says "Seem like there is chains about my feet, the time I get this far," she said, in the voice of argument old people keep to use with themselves. "Something always takes hold of me on this hill— pleads I should stay"(Welty paragraph 5). It is an indication that she wanted to press on regardless of the challenges and a voice telling her to stay back. Additionally, the theme of endurance is depicted by her willingness to travel despite her feeble body resulting from old age. It is an indication of the struggles that African Americans go through.

In conclusion, it is important to note that Welt's piece of a worn path is a story that mirrors her passion for writing books and also her desire to describe her people the African Americans. She explores various themes among them are selfless love, determination, and resilience. Besides, the touches on the challenges that people of color go through in the south. She brings out her purpose through various literary devices such as similes, metaphors, and themes, among others. The author has used various devices to paint out the true picture of the lives of people in Mississippi and their love for one another despite the challenges they go through.

Works Cited

Lewis, Boyd, Margaret Pepperdene, and Eudora Welty. "Eudora Welty: The Voice of the Mind of the South." Eudora Welty Review 5 (2013): 49-54.

Welty, Eudora. The collected stories of Eudora Welty. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1982.

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