Do any characters in the story change in significant ways?
Eudora Welty’s story is a tribute to the tenacity of the elderly female protagonist, Phoenix Jackson, who is present during the entire action narrated in the story. The only other characters play minor roles; they are the hunter, the nurse, and the attendant. In addition, Phoenix’s grandson is important because he is the motivator for her actions, but he does not appear in the story; the reader learns about his existence—and more importantly, his illness—from the conversations among the nurse, the attendant, and Phoenix when she finally arrives at the between.
Phoenix does not change significantly during the course of the story. Although Welty has made her a static character in this respect, Phoenix is not a flat character. She carries out her quest with not just determination but also humor. During the period in which she has been caring for her sick grandson, before the story’s action begins, she has changed through aging; her physical and mental health sometimes seem to have declined. Phoenix keeps going and is not hampered for long by the obstacles she encounters and overcomes; these characteristics indicate that the author intended for the reader to appreciate and admire the grandmother’s dedication to the boy.
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