What is the atmosphere in "A Worn Path," and would it change if the setting were different?

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At first, it's tempting to say that the atmosphere in the story is ominous: Phoenix Jackson is making her long, lonesome way through the countryside, and she's quite old; her eyes are failing her and every step must be carefully measured in order for her to stay safe. Indeed, it's a pretty precarious position: her shoes are unlaced, and it seems like the entire landscape is trying to catch her, and hold her:

Seem like there is chains about my feet, time I get this far . . . Something always take a hold of me on this hill—pleads I should stay[,]

she says to herself at one point. Once over the hill, she gets caught in a thorn bush, and the hot sun beats down on her. She has to clamber over a barbed-wire fence, and through the "maze" of "dead corn," after the "dead trees, like black men with one arm."

All of these images seem likely to create a suspenseful atmosphere, and indeed, there is a kernel of suspense in the story, particularly when the man who helps Phoenix out of the ditch points...

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