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Eudora Welty’s “a Worn Path”

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Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path”

Old people often become senile and they begin having memory lapses. They often lose focus and concentration, and they tend to forget what they were doing. Although they will tend to remember some events, they often do not remember all the details. In addition to this, they also experience many challenges as their health continues deteriorating. They eyesight becomes weaker and they have a hard time hearing. They become fragile and they cannot make quick movements. Phoenix Jackson experiences all these health challenges in her body. As she journeys from the countryside to the town, she momentarily forgets some of the things that she is doing and she even appears delusional in some cases. Based on her weak health and periodic memory loses, as shown in Eudora Welty’s A Worn Path, it is clear that Phoenix Jackson’s grandson is not alive but she is only going to get his medicine out of a habit that she had developed before he died.

The story details the account of Phoenix Jackson in her quest to visit the town where she can get medicine for her grandson. Along the way, she endures much hardship. She demonstrates the love she has for her grandson by remaining persistent in her quest. However, it becomes quite clear to the reader that Jackson might not be senile because of her old age. She has problems remembering things that are happening currently. She cannot distinguish between a scarecrow and a ghost and she admits that old age is catching up with her. Moreover, once she reaches the hospital, she takes some time to remember what had brought her there in the first place.

Jackson has poor eyesight and she cannot depend on what she sees to finish her journey. However, she is able to navigate many obstacles to reach her path. She seems to have accurate and perfect knowledge of the path she is using although it is long. She identifies hills and valleys when she is in the countryside. She states, “Something always take a hold of me on this hill - pleads I should stay (334).” She identifies the obstacles along the way and she is able to tell when she has to jump over a log even before she sees it. When she reaches the town, she does not depend on the written signs to show her the direction of the road that she is taking. She has to use her memory to remember the paths that she has always taken. From the title of the story, it is clear that the road she has chosen to use is a worn path. When she reaches her destinations, one of the nurses recognizes her and she says that Jackson never fails to visit the hospital to get her grandson’s medicine. She tells the attendant that Jackson makes these trips “just as regular as clockwork (337).” These events reveal that Jackson has made the trip many times before and she considers it a matter of routine and necessity to do so. She might still find the need of making the trips even after the death of her grandson because she used to do this. The nurse reveals that

Throughout the story, Jackson reveals the signs of her old age. She admits that she is the oldest person she knows. Along the way, she talks to the creatures she sees and those that she imagines are in the woods. She warns, “Out of my way, all you foxes, owls, beetles, jack rabbits, coons, and wild animals…Don’t let none of those come running my direction (333).” Such signs are a depiction of old age. As she walks along the path, she takes a break from the journey. Although she tries, she is not able to keep herself from dozing off and she imagines a young boy giving her a piece of marble cake. She confesses and says, “My senses is gone. I too old. I the oldest person I ever know (335).” She does not hear very well and she takes some time before recollecting her place. When she goes to the hospital, the nurse and the attendant have to ask her the same question several times before she answers them.

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