Describe the form of the story "A Worn Path."
"A Worn Path" begins with an exposition. The exposition is the introduction of the setting and the main characters. The complication (the introduction of some conflict or obstacle) is introduced gradually. We know that Phoenix is on some type of arduous trip or journey, but it isn't until later in the story that we learn that the journey is to obtain medicine for her grandson. The crisis and climax occur when she has the encounter with the hunter. The resolution occurs when she obtains the medicine and the spare change that she will use to buy her grandson a toy windmill.
This story has elements of a parable (a story which is didactic and provides some kind of life lesson). The lesson here might be about perseverance or a call for the reader to reflect upon race and relationships. But the story also has the form and structure of the epic. For Old Phoenix Jackson, this is an epic journey. It is remarkable that, in her old age, she is able to make the journey over and over again. This notion of determination and her ability to rise again and again to the challenge is clearly a parallel to the mythological phoenix which is continually reborn of its ashes. So, there is a familiar literary structure in terms of exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution. But the story is also comparable, in form and style, to the epic narrative. The allusion to the mythological phoenix adds to the story's meaning and also fits nicely with the epic style which is associated with works like The Odyssey which also contains mythological elements.
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