A Worn Path
ENG 125: Journey Into Literature
A Worn Path is a short story following an elderly African−American woman, Phoenix Jackson, and her walk through the woods into town. It is set in the 1940’s and is a fiction story. The theme here is presented using symbol from the journey and obstacles the she faces during the walk.
Though the story has many themes, it seems racism is the major one. That doesn’t limit the other to also including other themes such as responsibility, love, guilt, and even re-birth in a way. It has a great amount of detail to be able to include all of these into one short story.
Racism was portrayed by the author through Phoenix's brief encounters on her journey with the Southern whites. A white hunter helps her out of a ditch but patronizes her and belittles the purpose of her journey by laughing and saying "I know you old colored people! Wouldn't miss going to town to see Santa Claus!" (117). He also bullies her by pointing his loaded gun at her and asking, "Doesn't the gun scare you?" (117). Through these conversations, the author shows how some whites regarded blacks.
Another way that the author depicts the relationships between the two races is in the way the hunter calls her "Granny,'' or the nurse calls her "aunt" which were terms commonly used for older African−American women by whites. I learnt that during that time, whites would often call older blacks "Aunt," "Granny," or "Uncle" as a way of denying them their dignity which in turn demonstrates the subtle persecutions that blacks suffered in a white community.
Also according to my understanding, another theme that the author wanted to illustrate is the sense of love and responsibility Phoenix Jackson had toward her grandson. The sentiment was mainly due to the fact that she is the only person her grandson has to rely on. That was made clear when Phoenix tells the nurse, "We is the only two left in the world" (117), and thus...