Eudora Weltys A Worn Path Begins With An Old Negro Woman Walking In Th

This essay Eudora Weltys A Worn Path Begins With An Old Negro Woman Walking In Th has a total of 964 words and 4 pages.


Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path" begins with an old Negro woman walking in the forest. In the beginning the conflict was not obvious, although some clues were given in the second sentence where it stated that she was "an old Negro woman with her head tied in a red rag." That alluded to three of the conflicts of race, old age and poverty. However, the main conflict of the story was not disclosed until near the conclusion where we learned that she was traveling to town to obtain medicine for her grandson. That brought several questions to mind. Namely, why was an old woman forced to walk all that way to get medicine for her sick grandson? In today's society this would not occur. There are many services in place for the sick and the elderly and it is likely that both Phoenix Jackson and her grandson would be taken care of and given proper medical attention. But this story did not take place in today's society. It took place in the early 1900's where society was nearly opposite of it's state today. Thus, the conflict being illustrated is that of an individual versus society. The problems that Phoenix Jackson faces as a result of this are her old age, her health, racial tensions, her poverty, and her grandson's health.
Phoenix's old age was her main adversity and was emphasized throughout the story. In the second paragraph, Welty states "Her eyes were blue with age. Her skin had a pattern all its own of numberless branching wrinkles and as though a whole little tree stood in the middle of her forehead..." While old age is an inevitability of life, many of the problems associated with it do not have to be. Today's society has numerous programs for the elderly as well as residential care for those who can no longer care for themselves. But in the early 1900's, these programs did not exist and thus, Phoenix Jackson was left to fend for herself. However, the fact that she was willing to undertake this journey despite her age shows a determination and resilience that many people lack.
Her age compounded another problem - her failing health. Welty describes many ailments of Phoenix. In the first paragraph she states the Phoenix "carried a thin, small cane made from an umbrella, and with this she kept tapping the frozen earth in front of her." The fact that she walks with a cane shows that while she's not disabled, she should not be walking a long distance through the woods by herself. Welty also mentions numerous other ailments such as her failin

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