A Worn Path Questions and Answers
by Eudora Welty

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What does “A Worn Path” reveal about the conditions in the South during the 1930s and how they affected the lives of people who lived there?

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Welty's story is remarkable in that it is told in third person but is focused entirely on Old Phoenix's experience walking into town to get medicine for her grandson. The story is rich in detail about the old South:

  • Old Phoenix's walk into town through the pines and oaks is like a journey out of the past, and she herself is like a figure from some forgotten time. This quality is reinforced by her constant talking to herself and to the plants and animals around her, which lends a certain folkloric quality to her walk. 
  • Her encounter with the young white hunter reveals much about race relations. The hunter is condescending to Phoenix, advising her not to walk to town, then, when she insists, laughing it off, saying that "old colored people" like herself would do anything to get into town to "see Santa Claus." Even though the hunter tries to infantilize Phoenix, she tricks him into chasing away a dog so that she can pick up a nickel he has accidentally dropped.
  • Once Phoenix gets to town,...

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