Eudora Welty

Eudora Welty
(1909 – 2001)
Vocabulary Development
Copy the Vocabulary Development words
from page 759.
Early Life
Born in Jackson, Mississippi
Lived there her entire life
Father was an insurance man
Mother was a schoolteacher
Attended Mississippi State College for
Graduated from the University of
Did graduate work at Columbia University
Archetype – a very old imaginative pattern
that appears in literature across cultures
and is repeated through the ages; can be
a character, a plot, an image or a setting
Theme – the insight about human life that
is revealed in literary work
“A Worn Path”
Takes place during the Depression
One fourth to one third of the workers in
America were unemployed
Many people were forced to rely on charity
for food, medicine, and even housing
Metaphors – journeys are often seen as
metaphors for life
How is Phoenix Jackson’s journey symbolic?
Imagery – details which appeal to the
Notice the sensory details throughout the
What is Phoenix doing as the story open?
What does this opening imply about her journey?
She is walking along a path early one December
The opening implies that her journey will be long
and hard. She has been traveling for some time.
What details show that Phoenix has traveled
this path before?
At a certain point she always feels worn
out. She knows where the pines stop and
the oaks begin.
What do you think the thorny bush might
It might represent the unexpected
obstacles which one must overcome on
the path of life.
Why does Phoenix talk to herself and to
She may do this to give herself courage.
She is elderly and may not care what
others think about her.
What can you infer about Phoenix from her actions
and words when she steals the nickel?
She is sly.
She feels guilty about stealing.
She is poor and needs the nickel enough
to go against her conscience.
How does Phoenix overcome the possible
obstacle that the hunter represents?
She talks to him respectfully.
She stands up to him when he points the
gun at her.
What does Phoenix’s determination to
continue her journey imply thematically?
Her journey in life requires persistence
and courage.
What impression does “tower of steps”
It gives the impression of a difficult climb
for an elderly person.
Why doesn’t Welty reveal the reason behind
Phoenix’s journey earlier in the story?
Not knowing the reason makes the reader
wonder why Phoenix goes on.
Not knowing helps us to see her journey
as the universal struggle through life.
Not knowing adds suspense.
Why is Phoenix’s grandson’s situation so
Her grandson’s throat has been so badly
damaged by the lye that there are times
when he can hardly breathe.
Phoenix buys her grandson a windmill. How does
her gift for him contribute to the theme?
She is a woman who finds her way
through all types of obstacles, time after
time, because of her love.
How well does the metaphor of a “worn
path” work in this story?
Let’s discuss what YOU think of this!
When does this story take place?
What does Phoenix often do as she walks
What does Phoenix do to distract the
hunter as she steals the nickel?
What is Phoenix’s destination?
From what ailment does Phoenix’s
grandson suffer?
The story takes place in December.
Phoenix often talks to herself.
She turns his attention to a stray dog.
Her destination is a doctor’s office.
He swallowed lye and damaged his throat.