A Worn Path Summary
‘A Worn Path’ is a story about an old black woman named Phoenix, who is courageous and endangers her life to get the medicine for her grandson, who is suffering from extreme throat pain. Literally speaking, the story is the story of journey of old woman who walks towards the city on the cold winter day. She is taking a long trip to the city to visit the hospital and bring some medicine for her grandson. This is not the first time she is going to the city. She goes there frequently for the medicine. She loves her grandson so much that she faces many trouble and obstacle on the long trip.
This story is the live description of the journey of the old Negro woman. The writer presents live description of the real character so that the events of that story seem convincing. Phoenix comes up against several troubles between the valley and wagon track. She has to walk across thorny bushes and deep woods. She has to cross a river and even climb a steep hill. Her dress is caught and scratched by thorns. But, she frees herself with hard struggle. She has to creep and crawl under the barbed wire. She is even disturbed by the scarecrow, which she thinks to be a ghost. Later, she falls into a ditch when she tries to protect from the black dog. In spite of all these difficulties, she is successful to reach her destination.
It is quite strange to the reader that she keeps talking to herself because she is alone on the way. Also, she is very old and talking alone has because her habit. By talking to herself, she tries to forget hardships and troubles that come on her way. Monologues add a lot to the total portrait of her habits, nature and attitude. Through the monologue we can read her mind. From her monologue she seems weak, kind-hearted and loving woman. She is the woman who is afraid of even small things. But, she finds way to remove her obstacles. She is uneducated and knows very little about the outside world. She has lots of love for her grandson but despite of her weakness she is determined woman who frees all the challenges of the life. Her monologues add a lot to the total portrait of her.
Phoenix can be compared to the bird Phoenix in Egyptian mythology, which burns itself, changes into ashes and again recreates new life. In every obstacle, Phoenix seems to be losing hope such as burning of Phoenix bird into ashes. Later, when she gets victory over the obstacles, she seems to be regaining her hope such as recreation of life of Phoenix from ashes.
She is a very poor woman. When she sees the nickel dropped from a white man, she thinks she can do something with that money. Her poverty drives her to pick up that nickel. She does this theft jus for good reason. She wants to buy paper windmill for her grandson as a surprise gift on the occasion of Christmas Day.
At last, she is able to get success in her aim. In spite of her old age, she proves herself to be a courageous and determined woman. Being simple and uneducated lady also, she overpowers all the obstacles on her way due to her deep love for her grandson.