Please contrast Granny Weatherall in "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall" and Phoenix Jackson in "A Worn Path."

Expert Answers
accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both of these female characters are very memorable in the way that they are described and presented and are certainly forceful personalities. Phoenix Jackson in "A Worn Path" is notable for her determination in overcoming every obstacle she faces to get to the surgery for her grandson, and is described as being a small, old woman, but one who has a great inner strength apart from her age and size:

Her eyes were blue with age. Her skin had a pattern all its own of numberless branching wrinkles and as though a whole little tree stood in the centre of her forehead, but a golden colour ran underneath, and the two knobs of her cheeks were illumined by a yellow burning under the dark.

The way in which Phoenix is related to the mythical bird that burns up and then comes to life again out of its own ashes is made clear through the "golden colour" that lies beneath her skin and the "yellow burning" of her cheeks. Phoenix Jackson is shown to be a character that metaphorically resurrects herself each year to complete her journey on the "worn path" of love for her grandson, showing great fortitude and resilience.

Granny Weatherall, too, is a character that shows great fortitude and resilience. The way in which she brought up her children and lived a difficult life makes this perfectly clear, as does the way in which she treats the poor Doctor Harry who is trying to tend to her:

Leave a well woman alone. I'll call for you when I want you... Where were you forty years ago when I pulled through milk leg and double pneumonia? You weren't even born.

However, we perhaps most clearly see her strength and indomitable nature in the way that she chooses to blow out the candle of her life in the final paragraph of the story in the face of the ultimate "jilting" from God. Granny Weatherall's strength is shown in the way that she is able to accept her own death and voluntary chooses to die in that knowledge.

Both characters are therefore forces to be reckoned with, and also real personalities that have endured much hardship in their lives. The principal difference between them is of course the colour of their skin.

Read the study guide:
The Jilting of Granny Weatherall

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question