A Worn Path Questions and Answers
by Eudora Welty

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Characterize Phoenix Jackson from "A Worn Path" by Eudora Welty.

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Physically, the narrator tells us that Phoenix Jackson is "very old and small and she walked slowly"; she is physically frail, even carrying a cane to help her with balance. Her dress is "neat and tidy," though her shoelaces are untied, and her face is lined with "numberless branching wrinkles." It seems as though she is lit from within by a "golden color" and a "yellow burning" under the darkness of her skin. The red color of the rag she wears over her hair seems to symbolize her strength and perseverance, the figurative fire that keeps her going. Phoenix is also very self-reliant: she has no help, but relies only on her own feet and memory to get her where she needs to go. When she reaches the "trial," a log laid over a creek, "she mount[s] the log and shut[s] her eyes." She opens them again when "she [is] safe on the other side." She's brave as well, "holding utterly still" when the hunter points his gun straight at her. Finally, she's incredibly loving, going to such great lengths...

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