The short story “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty is a tale of a Phoenix Jacksons journey through the woods to get into town. The story is about an elderly African American woman who is in desperate need to obtain medicine for her very sickly grandchild. During Phoenix’s journey, she encounters many obstacles along the way but still she continues to overcome and pulls her way through. Throughout the story the theme is shown in her character and the obstacles she faces. The obstacles involve self-sacrifice, pride, determination, perseverance, and trials and tribulation. The themes that are shown are from what she encounters throughout Phoenix’s journey.
Welty begins the story with her first obstacle which is “the worn path” and journey itself for the reason that she has poor vision, walks with a cane and is in no condition to climb a hill and cross a river. Even though Phoenix is aware of all of her health complications she has, that doesn’t stop her from her goal. “Out of my way, all you foxes, owls, beetles…Keep the big wild hogs out of my path, Don’t let none of those…” (Welty 92) Phoenix pushes through the path that can cause danger to her with perseverance. She values her responsibility and obligation for her grandson; she builds up courage and inner strength in order to reach her goal. Nevertheless, her strong desire to complete her responsibility for grandson keeps her continuing the journey and she doesn’t think of giving up.
The second obstacle appears when she meets a racist white hunter. As a racist, he looks down on her and even mocks her by saying “I know you old colored people! Wouldn’t miss going to town to see Santa Claus!” (Welty 94)Phoenix keeps her thoughts to herself and pays her disrespect back by ignoring him. When she ignores the hunter, that shows her inner strength and determination, she is too focused and motivated to have a pointless argument. She has way more important things to worry about than to stop, time is of the essence. Also, by picking up hunter’s nickel that fell to the ground, she pays his rudeness back without responding to his valueless conversation. In fact, her most danger encounters is when the hunter “lifted his gun and pointed it at Phoenix (Welty 94).” At the moment she could’ve panicked and made the situation worst but instead she showed the hunter fearlessness. Phoenix has an outcome of shocking the hunter, showing her inner strength. Even though she encounters withstanding discouragement when the hunter tries to convince her how far town is away and to return home, she still continues to strive to reach the end of her path.
Phoenix finally gets over her barriers, she finally arrives to the hospital to get the medicine for he grandchild. Through all of her trials and tribulations she has almost made it near to her accomplishment. Regardless of what the nurses, doctors, or what people may say about her grandsons health not making progression , her duty is to get his medicine. Her continuous dedication only shows how much she loves her grandson and how much she wants him to get well, her returning the medicine on time is her only choice. Phoenix gets her inner strength from her grandson. He also gives her the motivation that she needs to help strengthen her to reach her ultimate goal.
A result, she achieves her goal, which is to get a cure for her ill grandson. Phoenix’s decision of not giving up on her long adventure, even at the face of obstacles, shows how wisely she endures for her goal and overcomes the obstacles. Phoenix’s reaction to the obstacles of her journey shows her inner strength as she overcomes each obstruction to her goal. The author Welty continues to emphasize on Phoenix’s determination, strive and goal from the beginning to end.