How does the symbolism in "Why I Live at the P.O." compare to the symbolism in "A Worn Path?"

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kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main way the two stories' symbolism can be compared is through the symbolic characters that Welty uses.  For example, Phoenix Jackson in "A Worn Path" is a symbol of longevity and determination and devotion.  Also, her name is also symbolic.  A phoenix is defined as a bird that rises from the ashes over and over again; it resurrects.  Phoenix has also "risen from the ashes" in many ways in that she has lived a very hard and difficult life and has faced many obstacles.  In "Why I Live at the P.O." some of the characters are also symbolic (along with their names or lack of them, in this story's case).  The narrator, "Sister," is never given a name, for example.  This could represent the fact she is cast out of the family, so to speak, because she is angry with them and because she moves out and goes to live at the P.O.  "Sister" is a generic reference and this can be symbolic of her having no identity with her family, in some ways.

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Why I Live at the P.O.

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