In A Worn Path, What do all the obstacles Pheonix faces represent?

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A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty is a complicated story despite its seemingly simple plot about an old black woman walking to town to get medicine for her grandson.   One key to the story is understanding the meaning of the title.  A lot of time in literature when an author uses something like a path, road, or river, it symbolizes a much different journey.  Because we travel on paths and roads, they become representative of the larger journey of life.  The hardships Phoenix Jackson encounters on her trip to town shows the obstacles she has had to face her entire life. 

A phoenix is a...

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karenrogersturner1 | Student

In "A Worn Path", the obstacles clearly represent the journey of life that we all have to travel. Phoenix is an old lady who has traveled this path many times. She encounters several obstacles along the way. However, in spite of her old age and difficulty of the path, she continues on and eventually makes it to her destination. As readers, we are somewhat baffled at how this little elderly lady can, at sometimes with ease, maneuver through challenging obstacles as she makes her way to town. Much of the credit for her success can be given to repetition and her familiarity with the path. Although the obstacles are there, and many are rough, she somehow manages to get through them. This is because she knows the path well from traveling it so much.

The path represents the universal truth of life being filled with barriers, stumbling blocks, challenges, and obstacles that we must go through and overcome in order to achieve the goals set before us. We see through Phoenix that some of these obstacles will have to tackled over and over again, but we can be comfortable with the fact that the more we encounter them, the easier it becomes to get through them. Also, with age comes maturity, wisdom, and knowledge. We learn how to work smarter and not harder, and we often come up with simpler, less complicated ways to solve an issue or problem.

Ultimately, Phoenix shows us how not to give up even when then road gets rough. We have to continue to push through so that we can successfully complete the journey ahead of us, especially when we have someone depending on us.