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ENGLISH LITERATURE - Essay Example

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The nature of love is beautifully examined as Phoenix Jackson takes her long walk in Eudora Welty’s short story “A Worn Path.” Within this story, the journey of an old black woman is followed as she travels through a sparsely inhabited countryside to the lit-up streets of…
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ENGLISH LITERATURE

Download file to see previous pages... It is also apparent that this journey is never easy on her, yet one that she makes with all the care and love that she has in her. Phoenix Jackson thus emerges from the story as a fully developed human being despite the short space of time in which she is introduced. At the same time, her walk through the countryside and into the towns symbolizes many aspects of American history as it progressed from the dark aspects of slavery to a more understanding yet still imperfect society of equal rights. Through eloquent imagery and careful progression, Welty is able to present Pheonix Jackson in loving detail as a fully fledged human being as well as a strong representation of American history to the point at which she is found making her trek.
The normal path of life can be traced through the various types of fields Phoenix takes in her journey to town. Her path starts in the evergreen forest full of springy needles and bright sun. These evergreen trees represent the springiness and immaturity of youth. Just as the wood of the pine tree is softer and easy to damage, the young Phoenix was malleable and easily moved to new actions. In youth, she was still full of bright hopes and dreams that were often “almost too bright to look at” (142). Phoenix herself seems to realize this analogy as she crests a hill. “’Up through the pines,’ she said at length. ‘Now down through oaks.’” (143) as she aged into something harder and less able to bend. This aging process is symbolized by the additional trials Phoenix must undertake, the prickly thorns of the brambles and the chains of gravity, before she is able to internalize the strength of the oak that is imprinted upon her forehead, “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, but a golden ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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