In the story A Worn Path, Eudora Welty shows an old woman living in a time period when racial prejudice is rampant and out of control. Phoenix Jackson is a grandmother whose only motivation for living is to nurture her grandson back to health. The strength of love may make people do or say unusual and implausible things. The central idea of this story is that love can empower someone to overcome many life-threatening obstacles. The idea is shown when an old woman conquers all odds against her to show her everlasting love for her grandson. .
Throughout the story Phoenix Jackson has to overcome many types of obstacles that hinder her ability to help her grandson. One of the main obstacles that stand in her way is the physical aspect of her age as well as the journey, "Seem like there is chains about my feet"(245). Phoenix Jackson is weak and feeble because of her old age so that makes her long journey strenuous. Another physical obstacle is that she has to weave and duck under a barbwire fence (246). Her feeble body cannot handle such tasks at her age. The third hindrance she must defeat is that she must cross over a log that lay across a creek (245). This requires concentration, skill, and patients. Even people who are twice as young as Phoenix have trouble doing such things. Not many emotional forces other then love is strong enough to give power to an old woman who is living only for one reason. She realizes that if she were to die, then the fate of her grandson would be damned.
There are also mental obstacles that obstruct Phoenix's journey. She has to triumph over her weariness because of her old age and her mental fatigue. As she is walking her mind plays tricks on her, such as the time when she is in the field and mistakes the scarecrow for a dark mysterious figure that she is frightened of (246). Another time is when she talks to herself and the animals in the woods. " Out of my way, all you foxes, owls, beetles, jack rabbits, coons, and wild animals!.