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Symbolism in A Bad Habit

             Some of these are habits of use and are very useful, for example brushing teeth. Some habits, like smoking or drinking can bring burden or death. This is the case in the short story "A Worn Path," by Eudora Welty. An old grandmother named Pheonix Jackson has made a habit of going on a long, dangerous journey to town for her dead grandson's medicine. By doing this Pheonix shows that humans will keep to a habit even though it is not good for them.
             Pheonix Jackson is "a very old and small woman" (388). She cannot see very well and uses a small cane made out of an old umbrella to help feel her way through the woods. As she is walking through the woods Pheonix says "Seem like there is chains about my feet," these symbolic chains she speaks of are the ones holding her in bondage to her habit. Pheonix also says "Something always take hold of me on this hill-pleads I should stay," as if to suggest perhaps subconsciously that her habit is futile. However she continues to tread along over the "frozen earth in front of her" and through the wilderness where she gets hung up in a thorn bush and she even has to cross a barb wire fance. It is almost as if everything she encounters is trying to hold her back yet she continues on. She comes across a white hunter with a dog who threatens her with his gun, "he laughed and lifted his gun and pointed it at Pheonix. . . . . . Dosen"t the gun scare you?" (392). Pheonix is not threatened and says, "No, sir, I seen plenty go off .
             Velasquez 2.
             in my day for less than what I done" (392). Again the hunter implies threats, "stay home and nothing will happen to you" (392). .
             Some of the things Pheonix says and does suggest that she is a bit senile at her old age, like talking to animals, "Out of my way, all you foxes, owls, beetles, jack rabbits,.
             coons and wild animals! . . . Keep out from under these feet, little bob-whites. . . . Keep the big wild hogs out of my path. Don"t let none of those come running my direction.

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