A Worn Path

Lesson 9

A Worn Path: Eudora Welty

 

Summary

 

“A Worn Path" is a story of an old courageous woman Phoenix Jackson, who loves her grandson very much, so goes to city to take medicine for his treatment. Jackson shows her unconscious heroism because she crosses multiple obstacles in her long journey to the city. She is lovely Negro grandmother ties her head with red rag. She wears dark stripped dress reaching up to her shoe tops. She also year’s neat and clean long apron with a full of pocket. Her eyes are blue with age and skin is wrinkled under the red rag, her black hair hanging down on her neck which has an odor of copper. She carries a thin small cane made from an umbrella.

 

Jackson starts her journey in early morning of December. It is chilly cold she walks through pine forest. She asks all wild creatures to go away from her path. Sun light makes pine bright to look at Jackson climbs up hill and reaches at the top. Now she has to climb down oak forest. Wen thorny bush catches her, she makes herself free. Sin is high over the sky. At the foot of the hill Jackson crosses the river by walking on the log very carefully. She thinks herself that she tons not as old as she thought. She sits for rest and imagines that a little boy is giving a cake to her. But it is her only imagination.

 

Phoenix becomes happy as it is not the season of bulls and snakes. She passes through old cotton and goes into a field of dead corn. She frightens with Scarecrow which she first supposes a ghost. She goes near to it, closes eves and touches it. She laughs herself. Then she walks further and finds quail (old hen) running into the forest. In a flowing stream, Jackson drinks water and says that nobody knows who made that well. Now the track goes into the road. When she reaches at the light bank, a dog comes out from ditch. She tries to remove it with one but falls into the ditch. A white hunter pulls her out. He asks her where she is going. When he knows that she is going to city, he says that black people never miss to see Santa Claus. Hunter runs away by chasing dog and old woman picks up a nickel fallen down from hunter's pocket. She hears dogs fighting Hunter comes back and pointed His gun until phoenix but she does not scare.

 

Phoenix and hunter go in different direction. Now Jackson is near to the city. She hears bells ringing. Houses are decorated as Christmas is coming near Jackson asks a beautiful lady to tie her shoe lace. Moving slowly from side to side, finally she climbs up the stairs of a story building before reaching to the destination. She goes inside the room. An attendant asks multiple questions but Jackson does not speak at all. She is so tired that she forgets why she is there One nurse comes and asks her to sit. When nurse asks her about her grandson, she still remains silent. When jackson comes to the real consciousness, she says that her grandson is same like before, He is waiting her inside the patch (tor) quilt opening his mouth like a little bird. Nurse says that it is an obstinate use and gives a bottle of medicine in free of cost. Attendant gives a nickel to Jackson. She puts it with previous.one, Now jackson steps out from the room. She has planned to buy a little wind mill to her grandson.

 

In this story, we can easily observe the difficulties of remote areas. In village arca people are deprived from the basic facilities of this one major concern of this story. Next side this story exposes the neter dying love of groundwater tour her grandson. Jackson and grandson so close that one is living for other. Although she is very old but determinant to see her grandson's life.



Short Answer Questions

 

1. What is the significance of Phoenix Jackson's trip to the town on the eve of Christmas? What could be her purpose? [5]

 

2076 Set C Q.No.5b

 

The protagonist of the story "A Worn Path written by Eudora Welty; Phoenix Jackson takes her trip to town at the time of Christmas Eve. She intentionally chooses the time for her journey. There are some reasons behind her trip to loan at the time of Christmas.

 

Christmas time is the time of joy and happiness. People seem festive at this time. Generally, they like to give charity to the poor people. Phoenix Jackson has a grandchild at her home who expects something from her at the time of festival. If she made a journey at this time, she would get charity and buy something for her grandchild who is sick.

 

In addition to that, the town seems to be decorated and she would love to be there. She would get support and care of the people. Similarly, she goes to town to bring medicine for her grandchild she thought she would get medicine as charity. So, she made her trip to town at the time of Christmas Eve.



2. What did old Phoenix do when she was knocked down by the dog? [5]

 

2072 Set E Q.No.5d

 

The Old Phoenix, the protagonist of the story, tactfully tackled the situation when she had been knocked down the dog. She fell down on the ditch when the dog knocked her. Phoenix but didn't surrender. She waited for someone to lift her up and blamed the dog for his act. She gave her hand. As expected, a Whiteman with the gun came. He asked what she had been doing there. She gave him the hand and he lifted her up.


3. Show an analogy between the mythical bird "Phoenix" and Phoenix Jackson. [5]

 

2072 Partial B Q.No.5c

 

Eudora Welty has drawn an analogy between Phoenix bird and the protagonist of the story Phoenix Jackson Phoenix is Egyptian mythical bird that consumes itself into fire and rises itself from the fire every five hundred years. It means the bird undergoes a cyclic process of life. He completes the cycle at every five hundred year and prepares for another five hundred year. It is a bird of great splendor. Similarly; Phoenix Jackson of the story is a woman of great splendor She comes across the difficulty in the course of her journey. Like the bird she faces the difficulty which is equal to the death of the bird and renews herself from the difficulty After she crosses one difficulty, she prepares for the other Thus, the bird and Phoenix Jackson are compared in the story.


4. Why is Phoenix Jackson taking a long trip to town?[5]

 

2067 Q.No.5a and 2069 Supp Q.No.5c

 

“A Worn Path" by Eudora Welty is a short story about an elderly African-American woman who undertakes a familiar journey on a road in a rural area to acquire medicine for her grandson. In other words, the old lady Phoenix Jackson's purpose of her trip to the town was to get some medicine for her grandson who is suffering from throat pain. She makes this journey clockwise. The old phoenix loves her grandson so much. Thus, despite her age she makes this difficult trip to town for him. Actually, her grandson had swallowed lye and his throat stops working now and again. In the town she has a clinic to go and take the medicine as a charity for her grandson. She has also another noble purpose to go to town. She wants to collect some pennies so that she could buy something beautiful for her grandson who waits her back in the countryside. She, thus deliberately chooses the Christmas time. To sum up her reason for going to Natchez is to pick up a supply of medicine for her grandson who accidentally swallowed lye a few years before She tells the nurse in the hospital that the damage to his throat never fully heals, and every so often his throat will begin to swell shut it is Old Phoenix's love for her grandson that causes her to face the trial of the journey of town, every time it is necessary, with no questions asked.


5. Describe two obstacles Old Phoenix comes-up against on her way to the hospital and how she deals with them.

 

2065 Q.No.5b

 

In “A Worn Path", an old woman named Phoenix Jackson is walking through the woods into town. On her way she encounters many obstacles, including thorny bushes barbed wire, and a large dog among others. The two of her obstacles are to pass through the thorny bush and cross across the creek (Small River) After climbing the hill with a great difficulty, now she has to climb down but by then she gets caught by thorny bush. Her long skirt made up of sugar sacks entangled in the bush. When she frees one side, she finds another side already caught. She doesn't want her skirt be tom out. She then starts to deal with it She communicates with the bush and begs for a permission to pass through it. Then, with a great labor she trees herself and again continued her journey. After sometimes, she comes by a creek. She has to cross it. It is not an easy job. She has to cross through a log She takes it to be a trial. Then she deals with it. She closes her eyes and levels the log with the help of the cane made from umbrella She mounts on the log Very carefully; she crosses the creek.



6. Why does Phoenix keep taking to herself? What do her monologues add to the total portrait of her?

 

2062 Q.No.5b

 

Phoenix Jackson, the protagonist of the story often talks herself on her way to the town. When she is on the bank of river, she sees a boy coming towards her with cake in her imagination. When she finds white man's nickel, she realizes herself as if she has done a crime. In the cotton field she speaks alone She utters her self-utterances many of other times to. When she drives the wild animals, she speaks climbing up the hill, seems like there is chains about my feet. Before crossing the log, she says, "Now comes the trial. After crossing the log, she says," I wasn't as old as though Some other area she says, 'walk pretty Phoenix keeps talking to herself in this way So as to collect confidence Her self-utterances become her friends on her way. Moreover, she wants to pass time. Her speech would give her some strength to make her trip possible. Another reason can be to be free from fear, Phoenix doesn't show fear but she has it at heart. When she sees the figure in the cotton field, she makes many suppositions. She keeps talking to herself to gather courage.

 

Her monologues give the total portrait of Phoenix Jackson Through her monologue, we know that she is very old by age and is really uneducated. We know also that she is a brave and courageous old Negro woman. Her monologues reflect that she is the woman with full confidence and also loving. We find her matured. In addition to this we get the picture of a helpless yet struggling old woman. She appears to be greedy and remorseful. Overall phoenix Jackson's monologue are her strengths which give the total portrait of a fearless Negro grandmother so struggling to get medicine for a sick grandson.



Long Answer Questions

 

7. Trace the various obstacles Old Phoenix has to face during her journey to town. (10)

 

2075 GIE Q.No.4b and 2076 Partial E Q.No.4b

 

In A Worn Path", written by Eudora Welty, an old woman named Phoenix Jackson is walking through the woods into town. On her way she encounters many obstacles, including thorny bushes, barbed wire, and a large dog among others. Though she feces many obstacles on her way, she overcomes them. On her way she got by thorny bush. After sometimes, she can by a creek She had to cross it through a log There are many other obstacles she comes across but she deals with each of them perfectly.

 

After climbing the hill with a great difficulty, she has to climb down but by then she gets caught by thorny bush. Her long skirt made up of sugar sacks entangles in the bush. When she frees one side, she finds another side already caught. She doesn't want her skirt be torn out. She then starts to deal with it. She communicates with the bush and begs for a permission to pass through it. Then, with a great labor she trees herself and again continued her journey.

 

After sometimes she comes by a creek. She has to cross Lit is not an easy job. She has to cross through a log She takes it to be a trial. Then, she deals with it She does her eyes and levels the log with the help of the cane made from umbrella. She mounts on the log. Very carefully, she crosses the creek.

 

She again continued her journey but there was another obstacle waiting her. Now, she had to cross through a barbed wire fence She crept and crawled through the wire saving herself and her gown Again she faced the trouble successfully. Now, she was passing through a corn field. There she saw a scarecrow. At first, she thought it to be a ghost but very boldly, she talked with it. Finally, when she knew that it was scarecrow, she even danced with it. After crossing the corn field as she was going on her way from somewhere, a black dog came before her all of a sudden, she lost her balance and fell down in a ditch there. She raised her hand for help. But, as there was nobody around, she silently remained there until a Whiteman helped her

 

In short, Phoenix Jackson's obstacles make her strong. She knows how to tackle them. Her long experience and tolerance made her journey possible. Indeed, we admire her efforts and courage which she displayed during her journey to town.



8. "A Worn Path" for a story of unconscious heroism of Phoenix Jackson. Elaborate it. [10]

 

2063 Q.No.4b, 2069 Q.No.4b and 2075 Set A Q.No.4b

 

A Worn Path by Eudora Welty is the story of unconscious heroism. The heroine of the story Phoenix Jackson shows her unconscious heroism in the journey she makes to town She faces many obstacles which she crosses by showing unconscious heroism

 

If Phoenix were conscious of the obstacles and difficulties that came on her way, she would not make it possible. Many of the time Phoenix was not conscious of the result. She passed through the thorny bush delicately. She entered in the wood of the wild animals and snow all over She mounted through the log to cross the creek She crawled through the fence and walked in the field of cotton and com. Every time she was not conscious of the difficulty and the outcome Unconsciously, she tackled them.

 

Phoenix is the oldest person she knows though she does not know exactly how old she is. Mainly because of her age, the simple walk from her remote home into Natchez is a difficult enough journey to take on epic proportions. She fears delays caused by wild animals getting in her way foxes, owls, beetles, jack rabbits, and raccoons She comfortably reflects that snakes and alligators hibernate in December, Thorn bushes and barbed-wire fences, log bridges and hills are major barriers for her The cornfield she must cross from her initial path to a wagon road is a maze haunted to her nearsightedness by a ghost that turns out to be a scarecrow. She must also struggle against her tendency to slip into a dream and forget her task, as when she stops for a rest and dreams of a boy offering her a piece of cake. Yet she fulfills by her unconscious heroic moves. She was not aware of the consequences

 

Thus, despite the difficulty of her trip, she clearly enjoys her adventure because of her unconscious involvement in the journey. She talks happily to the landscape, warning the small animals to stay safely out of her way and showing patience with the thorn bush, which behaves naturally in catching her dress She speaks good-humoredly of the dangers of the barbed wire: Her encounter with the "ghost ends in a short, merry dance with the scarecrow, a celebration that she has not yet met death. Difficult and important as her trip is, she extracts pleasure from it which further reveals the depth of goodness in her character.



9. Describe the story 'A Worn Path as a story of unconscious heroism. [10]

 

2056 Q.No.4a, 2064 Q.No.4b, 2073 Supp Q.No.4b and 2074 Set B Q.No.4b

 

Phoenix Jackson, the protagonist of the story is a Negro woman of over hundred. She has her house in the countryside, in which she lives with her grandson When she appears in the story, we find her with her ragged shawl and a cane. She has her shoes with loosened shoelaces. The Negro woman wears an apron made from sugar sack. The knobs of her cheeks shine with the light and her forehead is with the wrinkles. Her wrinkles give an image of a tree. She looks very bold and confident.

 

Phoenix makes journey to town to bring medicine for her grandson who has swallowed a lye While in the journey, she talks happily to the landscape, warning the small animals to stay safely out of her way and showing patience with the thorn bush which behaves naturally in catching her dress. She speaks good humoredly of the dangers of the barbed wire. Her encounter with the "ghost ends in a short merry dance with the scarecrow, a celebration that she has not yet met death. Difficult and important as her trip is. she extracts pleasure from it, which further reveals the depth of goodness in her character.

 

On the trace, a dog knocks her off her path, leaving her unable to rise until she is rescued by a young hunter. Though he helps her, he is also somewhat threatening. He is hunting quail, birds with whom she has spoken on her walk. When the hunter accidentally drops a nickel, she spots it quickly. She artfully diverts his attention by getting him to chase off the strange dog, so she can retrieve this nickel. Her behavior contrasts ironically with the hunter's She feels guilty about taking the nickel, thinking of a bird that lies by as a sign that God is watching her. Meanwhile the hunter blusters and boasts of his skill and power. He assumes that her long and difficult walk is frivolous in intent that she is going to town to see Santa Claus.

 

In Natchez, she must find her way by memory because she cannot read, to the right building and the right office in the building in order to get the medicine, there she encounters the impatience of clinic personnel who are acutely conscious that she is a charity case. Having found the right place, she momentarily forgets why she has come. Her effort and concentration have been so great in making the journey that she has lost sight of its end. When she has the medicine, one worker offers her some pennies for Christmas. She quickly responds that she would like a nickel. Then it becomes clear that she has a specific need for ten cents. She announces that she will buy her grandson a pinwheel and reflects, He going to find it hard to believe there such a thing in the world. Il march myself back where he waiting, holding it straight up in this hand.


10. How was Phoenix Jackson's journey to the town? Discuss. [10]

 

2071 Set A Q.No.4b and 2072 Set D Q.No.4a

 

A Worn Path" by Eudora Welty is a short story about an elderly African-American woman who undertakes a familiar journey on a road in a rural area to acquire medicine for her grandson. She expresses herself, both to her surroundings and in short spurts of spoken monologue, warning away animals and expressing the pain she feels in her weary bones. At its heart, "A Worn Path" is a tale of undying love and devotion that pushes us toward a goal.

 

Jackson starts her journey in early morning of December. It is chilly cold; she walks through pine forest. She asks all wild creatures to go away from her path. Sunlight makes pine bright to look at Jackson climbs up hill and reaches at the top. Now she has to climb down oak forest. When thorny bush catches her, she makes herself free. Sun is high over the sky. At the foot of the hill, Jackson crosses the river by walking on the log very carefully. She thinks herself that she was not as old as she thought. She sits for rest and imagines that a little boy is giving a cake to her. But it is her only imagination

 

Phoenix becomes happy as it is not the season of bulls and snakes. She passes through old cotton and goes into a field of dead com She frightens with scarecrow which she first supposes a ghost She goes near to it closes eyes and touches it She laughs herself. Then she walks further and finds quail (wild hen) running into the forest. In a flowing streams. Jackson drinks water and says that nobody knows who made that well. Now the track goes into the road When she reaches at the high bank, a dog comes out tromp ditch, she tries to remove it with cane but falls into the ditch. A white hunter pulls her out. He asks her where she is going. When he knows that she is going to city, he says that black people never miss to see Santa Claus Hunter runs away by chasing dog and old woman picks up a nickel fallen down from hunter's pocket She hears dogs fighting. Hunter comes back and pointed his gun at phoenix but she does not scare.

 

Phoenix and hunter go in different direction. Now Jackson is near to the city. She hears bells ringing Houses are decorated as Christmas is coming near Jackson asks a beautiful lady to be her shoe lace. Moving slowly from side to side, finally she climbs up the stairs of a story building before reaching to the destination. She goes inside the room. An attendant asks multiple questions but Jackson does not speak at all. She is so tired that she forgets why she is there One nurse comes and asks her to sit When nurse asks her about her grandson, she still remains silent When Jackson comes to the real consciousness, she says that her grandson is same like before. He is waiting her inside the patch(e) quilt opening his mouth like a little bird Nurse says that it is an obstinate case and gives a bottle medicine in free of cost Attendant gives a nickel to Jackson She puts it with previous one. Now Jackson steps out from the room She has planned to buy a little windmill to her grandson.

 

This journey has become possible because of old Phoenix's love for her grandson. She walks through the wood to a town and comes across many difficulties. This she has materialized because she loves her grandson more than anything in the world.



11. Why did Phoenix Jackson make a trip to the town? What obstacles did she face on her way? [10]

 

2059 Q.No.4a, 2070 Partial Q.No.4a, and 2071 Set D Q.No.4a

 

“A Worn Path" by Eudora Welty is a short story about an elderly African American woman who undertakes a familiar journey on a road in a rural area to acquire medicine for her grandson. In other words, the old lady Phoenix Jackson's purpose of her trip to the town was to get some medicine for her grandson who is suffering from throat pain. She makes this journey clockwise. The old phoenix loves her grandson so much. Thus, despite her age she makes this difficult trip to town for him. Actually, her grandson had swallowed lye and his throat stops working now and again. In the town she has a clinic to go and take the medicine as a charity for her grandson. She has also another noble purpose to go to town. She wants to collect some pennies so that she could buy something beautiful for her grandson who waits her back in the countryside. She, thus deliberately chooses the Christmas time. To sum up her reason for going to Natchez is to pick up a supply of medicine for her grandson, who accidentally swallowed lye a few years before. She tells the nurse in the hospital that the damage to his throat never fully heals, and every so often his throat will begin to swell shut. It is Old Phoenix's love for her grandson that causes her to face the trial of the journey to town, every time it is necessary, with no questions.

 

She faces many obstacles on her way. Her journey starts through the hill. It being December, it was very cold and the path way was covered with snow. She tapped her stick on the snow and continued her journey. She used to talk to herself most of the time and she also talked with all the animals that she met on the way. After climbing the hill with a great difficulty. now she had to climb down but by then she got caught by thorny bush. After sometimes, she came by a creek. She had to cross it. I was not an easy job. She had to cross it through a log She took it to be a trial She again continued her journey but there was another obstacle waiting her. Now she had to cross through a barbed wire fence. Now she was passing through a com field. There she saw a scarecrow. After Crossing the corn field as she was going on her way from somewhere a black dog came before her all of a sudden which was another obstacle Phoenix faced on her way to town. She lost her balance and fell down in a ditch there. These were the obstacles that she faced on her way to town.



12. Explain the journey of Phoenix Jackson to the town. How does she show unconscious heroism to overcome the obstacles she comes across? (10]

 

2066 Q.No.4C Old

 

Phoenix Jackson is an old lady. She makes her journey to get medicine for her grandson. It was cold early December morning. She had a cane to walk She has wrinkled face and unlaced shoes. Once she was caught in thorny bush and freed herself. Then she comes across a small river and barbed wire fence She found herself in cotton field and saw scarecrow. After this, she comes across a dog, which barks at her. She hits the dog with her cane and she herself falls in the ditch A Whiteman comes and helps her by lifting and she ran after dog Then she found a shining nickel and put it into her pocket. The Whiteman returned and wanted to give her a dime but he hadn't she saw a church and talks with a lady there. Finally, she reached a stone building and climbed stairs. The receptionist asked her a lot of questions. Then comes a nurse and asks questions to Phoenix replied that her grandson had a throat problem. The doctor asked the nurse to give Phoenix medicine freely. The receptionist gave her a nickel and she said that she would buy a paper windmill for grandson.

 

A Worn Path by Eudora Welty is the story of unconscious heroism. The heroine of the story Phoenix Jackson shows her unconscious heroism in the journey she makes to town She faces many obstacles which she crosses by showing unconscious heroism

 

If Phoenix were conscious of the obstacles and difficulties that came on her way, she would not make it possible. Many of the time Phoenix was not conscious of the result. She passed through the thorny bush delicately. She entered in the wood of the wild animals and snow all over She mounted through the log to cross the creek She crawled through the fence and walked in the field of cotton and com. Every time she was not conscious of the difficulty and the outcome Unconsciously, she tackled them.

 

Phoenix is the oldest person she knows though she does not know exactly how old she is. Mainly because of her age, the simple walk from her remote home into Natchez is a difficult enough journey to take on epic proportions. She fears delays caused by wild animals getting in her way foxes, owls, beetles, jack rabbits, and raccoons She comfortably reflects that snakes and alligators hibernate in December, Thorn bushes and barbed-wire fences, log bridges and hills are major barriers for her The cornfield she must cross from her initial path to a wagon road is a maze haunted to her nearsightedness by a ghost that turns out to be a scarecrow. She must also struggle against her tendency to slip into a dream and forget her task, as when she stops for a rest and dreams of a boy offering her a piece of cake. Yet she fulfills by her unconscious heroic moves. She was not aware of the consequences

 

Thus, despite the difficulty of her trip, she clearly enjoys her adventure because of her unconscious involvement in the journey. She talks happily to the landscape, warning the small animals to stay safely out of her way and showing patience with the thorn bush, which behaves naturally in catching her dress She speaks good-humoredly of the dangers of the barbed wire: Her encounter with the "ghost ends in a short, merry dance with the scarecrow, a celebration that she has not yet met death. Difficult and important as her trip is, she extracts pleasure from it which further reveals the depth of goodness in her character.

 

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