Please explain the significance of the worn path in Eudora Welty's "A Worn Path."

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Hollis Sanders eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The significance of the physical, titular path that Phoenix Jackson uses to get to town when retrieving medicine for her grandson is that it illustrates the love and commitment that Phoenix has to her family. Phoenix is perfectly familiar with every aspect of the path, seeming to have cataloged every step based on what it represents for her arduous journey. She approaches certain moments with a warm familiarity and others with a resolute but still present dread, saying "now comes the trial."

Even though Phoenix is in no physical condition to be making such a journey, she still makes it "like clockwork," and others on the path have become familiar with her. In fact, the only reason she is able to complete her journey is because people in the city recognize her, even though she has forgotten why she is there.

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The worn path can be interpreted as a symbol of Phoenix Jackson's enduring love for her grandson, as she travels this difficult way—even deep into her old age—in order to procure...

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