What role does the setting play in "A Worn Path"?

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In addition to the geographical location in which the story is set (the American South), the timing of the story is also quite important. These elements combine to make Phoenix Jackson's life and journey all the more difficult and the circumstances and success of her journey all the more exceptional. The story takes place near Natchez, Mississippi, sometime not too long after the end of the American Civil War, 1861–1865. We know this because, when Phoenix does make it to the doctor's office, she tells the nurse at the counter that she never went to school herself because she "was too old at the Surrender." By the "Surrender," she must mean the Confederate surrender to the Union army at the end of the war. Now, she's an old woman, she says, so this could easily be the beginning of the twentieth century, but we can safely say that racism is hardly better then than it was fifty years prior, especially in the Deep South, where Jim Crow laws weren't even abolished until the 1960s. We see...

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