A Worn Path Questions and Answers
by Eudora Welty

A Worn Path book cover
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What is significant about setting the story in December and during Christmas?

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The story "A Worn Path" shows readers a glimpse into a regular ritual for the main character, Phoenix, so it's interesting that this glimpse happens to be at Christmastime. Phoenix herself never bring up Christmas, but the other characters—white people who are more connected to commercial society than she is—hold it as a focus, and the hunter even suggests that it's the only explanation for her arduous journey. Phoenix makes this journey as an act of care for her grandson, and she's been doing it every time he runs out of medicine for years now. This stands in stark contrast to the two nickels she's given out of a Christmas-motivated sense of charity, which pale in comparison to the acts of kindness she undertakes as part of her everyday life. Her decision to spend the money on a paper windmill as a gift for her grandson, something short-lived and insubstantial, further emphasizes Phoenix's feelings about the holiday charity.

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