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 Education Attended Mississippi State College for Women Graduated from the University of Wisconsin Did graduate work at Columbia University Terms 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 senses Notice the sensory details throughout the story 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 morning. 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 represent? It might represent the unexpected obstacles which one must overcome on the path of life. Why does Phoenix talk to herself and to objects? 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” produce? 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 desperate? 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! READING QUIZ When does this story take place? What does Phoenix often do as she walks along? 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? ANSWERS 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.