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Where in this story is there wisdom?

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user3886192 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 16, 2013 at 6:50 PM via web

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Where in this story is there wisdom?

Tagged with a worn path, literature, wisdom

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 16, 2013 at 7:08 PM (Answer #1)

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I would suggest that the wisdom intrinsic to Welty's story would have to be with Phoenix Jackson's dedication to that which she knows is right.  There are many obstacles that could and would prevent many others from doing what Phoenix does.  She is old, her health is failing, and there are so many impediments with which she has to wrestle.  Yet, she does not waver in doing what she has to for her grandson.  The idea of "We is the only two left in the world," helps to convey the wisdom that the old lady holds.  She understands clearly that her moral and ethical obligation to help her grandson, regardless of consequences, is vitally important to both of their beings.  There is wisdom evident in this.  Phoenix Jackson is wise enough to understand that what human beings love and stand for is what defines them.  While Phoenix is old and she, herself, is becoming victim to the ravages of time, she will not let this define her.  Rather, she defines herself through the loyalty she has to her grandson and walking along this "worn path" is where her sense of being emerges.  It is in this idea of how one is what they love and how one must honor that which they love where wisdom exists in the short story.

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