How can I start writing a 1200 word analytical essay about the character of Phoenix Jackson?

Expert Answers
price7781 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the things you need to analyze first is why Eudora Welty named Phoenix Jackson "Phoenix."  A phoenix is a mythological bird that every 100 years builds a nest out of spices, sets itself on fire, and out of the ashes is reborn again.  If you notice in the story, Phoenix goes through many trials.  There are a lot of actions in the story where Phoenix physically goes up and down.  For example, she falls down in a ditch, yet picks herself up again.  She has to climb a staircase to get to the doctor’s office, and then she has to descend it to go home.  The path she takes to the doctor’s office is symbolic of her journey of life.  It has been full of hardships and obstacles, and you can see those obstacles played out in the story in the journey she takes.  In addition, Phoenix was once a slave, a huge difficulty in her symbolic journey of life. 

My advice is to analyze the name Phoenix, and Welty’s purpose in naming her main character that, and then look for how Welty shows that she is a phoenix who has to keep going despite the difficulties she has endured in life.  Also, take note of the people and things she encounters on her journey.  They may give you some clues as to what Phoenix has had to overcome to survive. 

Note: Notice that Phoenix’s grandson is described as a little bird.