Never judge a book by its cover. The story could be one that changes the reader’s life despite the worn down, dirty old cover. The same aspect goes for the character, Phoenix Jackson, in “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty. On the outside she seems old and frail, but looking deeper into her character she is a strong woman. In “A Worn Path” Phoenix Jackson appears to be a frail old women, both physically and mentally, but looking at the symbols in the story that represent her, she is a strong heroic character.
As the story begins Welty introduces the character as Phoenix Jackson. Her name is very symbolic of a strong heroic character. The legend of the Phoenix bird is that it lives for five hundred years or more and goes on an annual journey. It feathers are said to be unique and golden colored. When the bird finally dies it bursts into flames, and then it rises from the ashes again to start the cycle over. Phoenix in the story is very much like the bird. The phoenix has a golden tail and Phoenix’s skin is described as “having a pattern all its own of numberless branching wrinkles and as though a whole little tree stood in the middle of her forehead, but a golden color ran underneath” (319). Phoenix is also an elderly woman who has lived for many years, just like the Phoenix bird who lives for hundreds and hundreds of years.
Phoenix not only physically looks like the bird, she resembles the Phoenix spiritually. Like the Phoenix, who rises from its own ashes over and over again, she
continues to take her journey over and over again. “She makes these trips just as regular as clockwork” (324). The Phoenix deals with hardships throughout its life, and Phoenix has to deal with the hardship of making the far journey from her house to town while having to go through uneasy paths.
Traditionally, a quest is a journey in which a knight overcomes a series of obstacles in order to perform a prescribed feat. Phoenix may not look like a typical knight, but she goes on a...