A Worn Path Questions and Answers
by Eudora Welty

A Worn Path book cover
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In what way is "Phoenix" an appropriate name for the main character "A Worn Path"?

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"A Worn Path" is the story of an old woman's journey from her country home into town to buy medicine. Along the way, the main character, Phoenix, falls down into a gulley. Since she is in a remote area, it is difficult to know how she will get out.

The title is a play on words, since Phoenix is also "worn out." She always takes the same path, one she knows, so it is implied that she wears out the path over the years. But there is also irony in this fact, since the path offers many surprises on this trip.

During her walk, she meets thorny brush, a black dog, and a hunter. Each time an obstacle comes her way, she manages to deal with it, but her falling down the hill into the ditch is the climax of the story. The hunter helps her, but the reader isn't sure at first if he will.

Although Phoenix does receive some help, much of her journey is difficult and somewhat ambiguous. She is getting medicine, but it's not totally clear if that will solve her nephew's problem. She receives help from the...

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