Literary Analysis of The Worn Path

In the Worn Path, by Eudora Welty, the placement consorts with the time to create an environment which hinders Phoenix’s progress but reinstates dedication and persistence into her Journey. During the establishment of the setting, the first description is, “It was December ??”a bright frozen day in the early morning” (Welty 1340). As established later on, the story takes place in the southern United States, which negates the initial portrayal of a “frozen day’. Due to physical setting, “frozen” cannot logically reference to the weather so it must hold a deeper and more complex meaning.It has to signify a deeper meaning.

The “brightness” contrasts with the “frozen day’, giving the story a more optimistic feel, foreshadowing a light at the en d of the tunnel. The setting within the forest becomes the primary antagonist, creating hurdles and obstacles for Phoenix to overcome. Her slow, but continued progress embodies a certain strain of perseverance and stamina into her character. Phoenix encounters three main difficulties crossing the log, falling into the ditch, and meeting the man. Even when met with a man in the forest who continuously tells her, “to go back homeGranny,” (Welty 1341) she quite stubbornly goes on enhancing her undying determination to get to her final destination. The significance of placing Phoenix on this route as opposed to a clear cut road towards the city is to portray everything she stands for as a character.

As a black woman, she is in a heavy minority group, and to parallel the hardships she faces throughout her lifetime Welty recreates them on this Journey to the city. The Christmas backdrop significantly adds to her Journey as it encompasses a time of hope and giving, highlighting Phoenix’s selflessness and the “true spirit of Christmas”.


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