What is the point of view in "A Worn Path"?

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The point of view in "A Worn Path" can best be described as third-person limited, objective. The audience does see everything predominantly from Phoenix's perspective. We are only aware of people if Phoenix is aware of them, and we are only part of conversations in which Phoenix takes part. However, the narrator is also objective in the presentation. We don't know Phoenix's thoughts, for instance. When she says out loud, "God watching me the whole time. I come to stealing," we can infer that she feels badly about taking the money dropped by the man. But this is only because of Phoenix's out loud commentary. Through the limited and objective narrator, we are forced to infer many details about Phoenix's personality and character.

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Eueora Welty's "A Worn Path" is told from the third-person objective point of view.  Welty employs this point of view which does not reveal as much of the character as do first and omniscient points of view so that the reader may perceive Phoenix less as a person and more as a symbolic, even mythical, character.

That she is a symbolic and myth-like character is evidenced, first of all, by her name which suggests the mythological bird that continues to live by rising from its ashes.  As the old woman traverses fields and streams, she falls again and again, but gets up each time so that she can continue her "worn path" and procure the medicine for her grandson. 

Lest the objective point of view be too plain and not convey the symbolic meanings of this story, Welty employs language rich with metaphor and symbolism.  For example,

But she sat down to rest.  She spread her skirts on the bank around her and folded her hands over her knees.  Up above her was a tree in a pearly cloud of mistletoe.  She did not dare to close her eyes, and when a little boy brought her a plate with a slice of marble-cake on it she spoke to him.  'That would be acceptable,' she said.  But when she went to take it there was just her own hand in the air.

The old woman's talking to herself also aids in characterization without revealing her inner reality as does first-person and omniscient narrator:

'You scarecrow,' she said.  Her face lighted. 'I ought to be shut up for good,' she said with laughter. 'My senses is gone.  I too old.  I the oldes people I ever know.  Dance, old scarecrow,' she said, 'while I dancing with you.'

This objective point of view also serves to indicate the old woman's simple acceptance of her condition in life.  She is "too old," but she will continue going the "worn path" as long as her grandson lives, for she is simply the only one that he has to care for him.

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Provide an analysis of the point of view in "A Worn Path"?

The point of view in "A Worn Path" can best be described as third-person limited, objective. The audience does see everything predominantly from Phoenix's perspective. We are only aware of people if Phoenix is aware of them, and we are only part of conversations in which Phoenix takes part. However, the narrator is also objective in the presentation. We don't know Phoenix's thoughts, for instance. When she says out loud, "God watching me the whole time. I come to stealing," we can infer that she feels badly about taking the money dropped by the man. But this is only because of Phoenix's out loud commentary. Through the limited and objective narrator, we are forced to infer many details about Phoenix's personality and character. This approach also lets Phoenix's actions speak for the narrator, allowing for more indirect characterization as well as more focus on the action of traveling the worn path rather than focusing on the internal conflict.

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Provide an analysis of the point of view in "A Worn Path"?

The point of view in "A Worn Path" comes from a third person narrator. The third person narrator is not omniscient and does not provide the thoughts of Phoenix or any other characters (with the exception of Phoenix's spoken lines when she is alone.) However, in describing the scenes and events, the narrator gives the reader enough information to determine traits of the characters. This style gives the reader the effect of watching the events of the story. (Had it been a first person narration, it would seem more like a narrator, or Phoenix, is telling the story from a certain point of view.) Since the point of view is from a relatively objective third person narrator, the reader forms his/her perspective out of this third person narration. While the narrator seems only to describe the facts of the events, the narrator does provide clues which, although open to interpretation, give more insight into the characters' motivations; namely Phoenix's. 

For example, in describing just the scenery and Phoenix's appearance, the narrator informs the reader about Phoenix by comparisons and juxtapositions. Phoenix is described as walking "with the balanced heaviness and lightness of a pendulum in a grandfather clock." She moves slow and heavy in her old age but she is light and when using her cane, it is "limber a a buggy whip." Phoenix is described as old and frail, but determined and resourceful. The other characters she encounters think she is a simple, physically frail person. (The rude hunter assumes she's going to see Santa Claus and the nurse considers her a charity case.) But Phoenix shows that she is resourceful when she takes the hunter's nickel and manages to get more money out of the attendant. 

The narrator uses quite a bit of bird imagery as well. "Phoenix" is the mythological bird that continually rises from its ashes. This parallels Phoenix returning again and again to get her grandson's medicine. The hunter has a bob-white, killed, in his bag. This image could imply how he is a symbolic predator. The grandson is also described in terms of being like a bird: 

He wear a little patch quilt and peep out holding his mouth open like a little bird. 

The narrator simply provides the facts of the story, but there are suggestive images which help to suggest to the reader the context and content of the characters and Phoenix's situation. 

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