What are the two crucial passages that develop the theme in "A Worn Path"?Without those two passages, the story would have a completely different meaning.

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"A Worn Path" is the story of a journey of love.  As such, I think the single most significant passage comes at the end, when Phoenix is explaining to the nurse the purpose of her visit.  She says,

"My little grandson, he sit up there in the house...waiting by himself...We is the only two left in the world...He wear a little patch quilt and peep out holding his mouth open like a little bird...I could tell him from all the others in creation".

The second most crucial passage was a little harder to decide on, but I believe it is when Phoenix enters the medical building and sees,

"nailed up on the wall the document...stamped with the gold seal and framed in the gold frema, which matched the dream that was hung up in her head".

The first passage illustrates the innocent, trusting dependence of Phoenix's grandson, and the deep love she has for him.  It is this love that makes her undertake the arduous journey down the worn path to town when he needs his medicine.  Phoenix overcomes the frailties of tiredness and old age and endures physical hardship, racism both veiled and blatant, and assaults to her dignity to get the very best that she can - her perception of modern medical treatment as described in the second passage - for her beloved grandson.