A Defense of a Respectable Character.
Phoenix Jackson is an old woman who is severely underestimated in Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path." This short story is set in the old South where this elderly, uneducated, poor, black woman is treated with a complete lack of respect. Despite all obstacles, Phoenix Jackson proves her love for her grandson though perseverance, for this she deserves much respect and admiration. As an "old Negro woman" (Welty 275), Phoenix strives to overcome numerous obstacles on her arduous journey to get medicine for her ailing grandson. These obstacles range from physical impairments to rough terrain to dealing with disrespect. She has a unique way that she deals with disrespect from those she meets along her journey, which has brought on criticisms from contemporary authors.
From the description that Welty gives of Phoenix in the beginning of "A Worn Path," it is easy to comprehend how difficult a long, hard, cold journey will be for Phoenix. She is an old woman with aged eyes that are of barely any use and skin that has, "numberless branching wrinkles" (Welty 276). Phoenix must also use a cane to support her, which affects the rhythm. The Journey that Phoenix takes is burdened with many obstacles. As she travels up a hill it, "Seems that there are chains about my feet, time I get this far something always takes hold of me on this hill. Pleads I should stay" (Welty 267). Next she comes across a patch of thorns that seem like they are about to tear her dress where she would not be able to carry on her journey. Finally she manages to get herself free. The biggest obstacle that nature posses for her is a log that is used to cross a creek. After defeating this obstacle Phoenix declares, "I wasn't as old as I thought" (Welty 270). .
If any obstacle that Phoenix Jackson faces proves how she perseveres more than any other obstacle, it would be how she handles the disrespect from the people she encounters on her journey.