How was Phoenix kind in "A Worn Path"?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Because of her age, the journey is a difficult one. Even when she gets caught in the thorns, she seems to be sympathetic to the thorns themselves. "Thorns, you doing your appointed work. Never want to let folks pass, no sir. Old eyes thought you was a pretty little green bush." Here, Phoenix is even kind to the thorns. It is as if she has a kinship with the forest and/or the natural world of her environment. Later, she doesn't curse the scarecrow for scaring her; she laughs about it. These reactions reveal an aspect of her kindness. 

Phoenix's kindness is truly demonstrated by her dedication to her grandson. She is too old to continue making the trip into town, but she does so to get her grandson's medicine. She "rises" again and again to make the trip. This relates to the significance of her name: the phoenix rising from the ashes. She is so dedicated to the care of her grandson that she even uses all of her spare change to buy her grandson a windmill.

Whether other people are rude (the hunter) or kind, Phoenix is polite. She thanks the woman for tying her shoe and she thanks the nurse even though the nurse is dismissive when Phoenix has an unresponsive spell. 

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A Worn Path

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