In Eudora Welty’s short story, A Worn Path, her use of characterization is one of indirectness. The reader never gets a vivid description of what Phoenix, the main character, looks like, nor does the reader receive the confirmation of her being a black woman. Throughout the story one is able to conclude that Phoenix is an old woman who cares a great amount for her sick you grandson. One can also infer that though most see her as old and fragile she sees herself as strong and fully capable.

This is exemplified when she is about to go up the hill on her journey to town. At first she doesn’t think that she will be able to do it, but when she reaches the top she “turned and gave a full, severe look behind her where she had come. ” It is a great contrast as to how the other characters she encountered treated her. They treated her as if she were going to break at any moment. The hunter suggested to her that she turn around and go back home due to the long journey to the town, but he soon came to the conclusion that she wasn’t as helpless as she seemed.

The way in which Welty decides to show you who the character is throughout the book is purposeful. At fist the reader would assume that she is some old, tired, helpless woman with an umbrella as a cane, but as the reader goes along in the story he or she realizes that the woman has to make these trips pretty often, and that she is more than capable to take care of herself due to all of the things she’s seen in her lifetime.


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