The Hero Sojourner in A Worn Path by Eudora Welty
In A Worn Path by: Eudora Welty, the main character emulates the
necessary nuts and bolts of the archetypal journey as it's hero;
answers a call to an adventure, has to go through trials of fear, and
ending with the retrieval of two prizes. Eudora Welty's short story "A
Worn Path" takes place on a "bright, frozen day" in December.
Representing a struggle, but most of all represents determination. Her
name is Phoenix Jackson. This story is about sacrifice, Good versus
Evil, and overcoming obstacles. She shows all the qualities of the
Hero archetype and a Hero's journey.
"Fate can take control of humans lives and can help humans reach the
end of the challenging path. The path is a journey which can not be
totally controlled by humans." In A Worn Path, an old "Negro" woman
goes through and through again a path to get her grandson his
medication for his throat. She has to go on a path, a worn path.
Phoenix's path is worn not only because she herself has had to travel
it so many times, but because it symbolizes the path traveled by poor
and oppressed people everywhere. These elements of the archetypal hero
employ various situations, symbols and characters for the character to
go through a long journey. The story is a large metaphor for the path
through life. Phoenix, the main character of the story, follows the
long, well-used path, and defeats many odds. She begins the journey
with general symbols of everyday life. The journey itself is like
life, it has its ups and downs. "The woods were deep and still" (Welty
paragraph 4) and "Down in the hollow was the mourning dove" the void
of death. Eudora Welty uses many symbols to illustrate how Phoenix
went through this journey. Such as oaks and pines, " 'Up through
Pines, ...Now down through oaks.' " the break up of the path from
these trees at the top of the hill, going up were pine trees, and
going down were oaks. Not only do these trees symbolizes the ups and
downs but represent strengths and weaknesses. The oak is strong and
not easily moved, meanwhile the Pine is more fragile and consistantly
swaying. Illustrates how at first it seems as a lost cause turns into
strength and will to go through this journey. "Virisque adquirit eundo"
(Virgil) At every step she gathers strength.
"Life is like an obstacle course, consisting of obstacles in which
have to be overcomed." (unknown author) This element of the...