Phoenix Jackson is a neat, caring, old woman. Eudora Welty makes that clear within the first few sentences. Phoenix is willing to spend long amounts of time, all months if the year, to walk along a path and get medicine for her grandson who had swallowed lye a few years earlier. Welty uses Phoenix in another way though. Phoenix is used to help convey Welty's message. Welty names Phoenix after the bird in order to help reveal her character. Welty makes Phoenix encounter many obstacles along her journey to the hospital, but Phoenix somehow powers through and is determined to get to the hospital. A Worn Path can stand for several things. The title of the story itself describes both Phoenix's character and Welty's message. Through the analysis of Phoenix's character, the reader can be lead to Welty's message of perseverance and overcoming obstacles. .
"It was December-a bright frozen day in the early morning. Far out in the country there was an old Negro woman with her head tied red rag, coming along a path through the pinewoods. Her name was Phoenix Jackson." (Welty, 686) When Eudora Welty named a character Phoenix, she did more than just named a character; she gave the character a character. A Phoenix is an Egyptian bird that stands for power and strength. By giving the name Phoenix to this old woman character that Welty created, the character's character is formed around what a Phoenix bird stands for. Phoenix now has the strength and power in order to overcome obstacles and struggles in her life. The Phoenix bird can also stand for rebirth or resurrection. Rebirth and resurrection are often associated with religion and more specifically, Christmas. The time of the story is around Christmas time, and there may be a good reason for that. In the winter, we are faced with the most amount of weather obstacles. When Phoenix walks on the path, she has to face many obstacles, including weather.