"A Worn Path" is a story of an old woman whose human spirit is full of devotion, dignity and high drive that helps her overcome tremendous impediments of life in the name of love for her grandson. As Helen Keller once said, "Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood." Being wise comes with experience and age. Phoenix Jackson, as a woman who possesses both qualities, teaches us life lessons to hold onto and experience for ourselves, as we journey down our own "worn path". The title itself explores a cyclical course that each of us encounters in our lives and will continue to do so in the future. It is an exploration of our inner strength and our ability to face life without fear. In the story "A Worn Path" by Eudora Welty, Phoenix Jackson, despite the racial injustice which she was forced to endure in her lifetime, lives up to her name by using her inner strength and wisdom throughout her journey to reach her destination.
The name Phoenix fits the description of our protagonist, representing strength and rebirth. The name itself refers to the Egyptian myth symbolizing the Death and rebirth of the Sun. Yet, the description given reveals her ailment and feebleness by portraying her as an elderly, worn-out woman whose hindered walk resembles a "pendulum of a grandfather's clock". Her weaknesses and frail characteristics are plainly an impediment on her long journey. Obstacles follow her with every step, generating a nuisance for her along the way to her destination. Despite these physical ailments, Phoenix faces her senile state of mind, leaving her with a trail of delusions of fear. However, the resilience that Phoenix exhibits urges her to move past the hallucinations invading her mind.
Along her journey Phoenix surpasses justice to reach her higher calling. Her state of mind comes to a halt upon her encounter with the young hunter. He is her opposite in every way.