Characters are an integral part of any fictional story. Authors use characters to showcase a lesson or a theme. The behaviors, physical attributes, and changes that a character can go through in a story build the story’s plot. The reader or audience relates with the characters by how they behave in a story.
Phoenix Jackson is a character used in A Worn Path. Eudora Welty, the story’s author, presents an old woman walking across a weary path to a nearby shopping center. The entire story shows Phoenix, an old woman who is brave by courageously approaching various wild animals, humorous in making fun of the moments she has with wild animals, and caring by looking after her sick grandson.
Phoenix is a brave old woman who treks a weary and dangerous path to the nearby shopping center. She bravely confronts all sorts of wild animals despite her weaknesses as an old woman. The line ‘out of my way, all you foxes, owls, … wild animals’ (Welty 1) shows her courage regardless of the danger around her. At some point along the way, she encounters a scarecrow that she courageous confront, saying, “Ghost…who be you the ghost of?” (Welty 1). When she approaches a swamp of alligators, she majestically walks through, claiming, ‘sleep on, alligators, and blow your bubbles” (Welty 1). Trekking a path full of dangerous animals informs the Phoenix’s bravery.
Phoenix has a sense of humor by making a joke about herself and things around her as she treks through. Walking up a hill had her saying, “seem like there are chains about my feet” (Welty 1). An implication that she may be having some metals holding her feet is funny. After covering much of the journey, she claims that “I wasn’t old as I thought” (Welty 1). Lastly, she talks to a buzzard like a conscious person. “Who are you watching” (1) was such a sarcastic engagement to a wild animal that neither even sees nor hears. Phoenix creates humor in every situation she finds herself in.
Phoenix is a caring grandmother. She has been taking care of her ill grandson by herself. The line “my little grandson, he is just the same” confirms the unreserved care, despite the stress, she has been rendering to her grandchild. She talks of going for “another trip for the soothing-medicine” (Welty 1). The line implies that even this time, she was going to the clinic for her grandson’s throat problem. Lastly, she hits of “going to the store to buy” her son a little windmill (1). The line informs Phoenix’s dedication to the happiness of her sick grandson. Walking long a distance to pick medicine for a grandchild despite her age evidenced Phoenix’s caring heart.
Phoenix is a character who shows bravely, humor, and care. Her journey to the nearby shopping center showcases her courage to encounter wild animals. She defies her weakness and inability to retaliate physically by walking past dangerous wild animals, such as wolves. Also, Phoenix makes sarcasm from her experiences and disabilities. She talks of being held by some metals on her feet due to her inability to walk uphill. At some point, she talks to a sleeping buzzard like a conscious being. Lastly, she is a caring grandparent who walks across miles alone to get medicine for her sick grandson. Wanting to see the best for her grandchild is such a caring heart.
Welty, Eudora. “A Worn Path”. The Atlantic, 1941. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1941/02/a-worn-path/376236/ Accessed 4 June 2021.