Setting in A Worn Path

A discussion of the importance of setting in “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty.

This paper reviews the short story “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty, the story of Pheonix Jackson, an elderly African American woman who is on a journey to town to buy medicine for her sick grandson. It examines how the focus of the story is the journey Pheonix makes, a habitual journey bought about by the love she feels for her grandson but also how the setting of the forest represents Pheonix’s emotional journey as well as her physical one. It looks at how the setting is crucial to the story because it represents Pheonix’s inner state since the forest, the journey through it and the obstacles encountered all represent something about Pheonix and her habitual journey.
“A turning point in the setting occurs at the top of the hill. It is here that Pheonix feels she has to make the most effort and after this point her journey becomes less troublesome. The journey from the top of the hill is literally a downhill one and metaphorically a downhill one. After this point she has accepted that she will make the journey. On the top of the hill Pheonix says, “Something always take a hold of me on this hill — pleads I should stay” (Welty 143). This is because once the hill has been passed, there is no turning back. This is the last point where Pheonix questions whether she should continue the journey. After this point, no matter what obstacles she encounters, she knows she will brave them. ”