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Phoenix, the protagonist of “A Worn Path,” is a poor, aging black woman who is experiencing the onset of the afflictions of age (loss of memory, inflexible and arthritic joints, imaginings) while maintaining an indomitable spirit in the face of the hopeless nature of her own plight and that of her grandson. The story becomes more dramatically focused upon her because she is seen objectively and dramatically (and distantly?) by the attendants in the doctor's office.
As a narrative, the story is interesting because exposition takes place from the beginning almost until the very end (paragraph 94). The rising action takes place from paragraph 95 to the end.
The complication is developing almost coincidentally, for the difficulties Phoenix experiences are also a part of the monumentally difficult conditions of her life. The disclosure about her grandson (paragraphs 78–92) is an additional complication, which is always on Phoenix’s mind, but which we do not learn until the attendants bring up the topic. The story’s climax is the speech by Phoenix in paragraph 94, in which her recognition and determination are revealed.
The conclusion and resolution is marked by a continued focus upon her as she retreats down the stairs with the intention of buying a toy before returning home.
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