What is the main idea of "A Worn Path"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A southern writer, in this story Welty seeks to explain the racism of the south through the metaphor embedded in the title.  Phoenix’s “path” in life is set in place, well traveled by her and other blacks as a result of the indignities of racism.  Paths are limited and narrow;...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

A southern writer, in this story Welty seeks to explain the racism of the south through the metaphor embedded in the title.  Phoenix’s “path” in life is set in place, well traveled by her and other blacks as a result of the indignities of racism.  Paths are limited and narrow; they confine a person to one direction; one role in life, one perception.  “Worn” has several meanings:  first, Phoenix is “worn out” from racism in the sense of being exhausted; second she is worn out in the sense of  being “damaged or impaired by use,” for racism uses people; third, she must “wear” and has “worn” the identity that racism puts on her;  and lastly, the path itself is “worn” in that its use has run out—black people such as Phoenix need to create a life of their own and its about time they are given the space—fields of opportunity, so to speak--to do so

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team