Outsiders In A Worn Path English Literature Essay


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Everyone at one point in their lives have felt like an outsider where they feel like they dont belong and couldnt do anything about it. I believe that the story "A Worn Path" clearly shows that there is some sort of struggle that Phoenix Jackson, the protagonist, is going through something very similar to "Batman and the Outsiders" as he was treated as an outsider even though he was helping others The story Author, Eudora Welty, portrays Phoenix Jackson, as an African-American women who goes through many obstacles trying to get medicine for her grandson who has a sore throat. The author sends out little hints in the story which proves that there is some sort of discrimination because as a women especially during the 1950's, being an outsider and due to the colour of her skin and her age she is treated differently. I believe that in the story she symbolically illustrates the obstacles that African Americans face. As she walks through the forest she has to walk alone, with no one accompanying her, shows that back then no one could help dealing with racism; Everyone had to fight for themselves trying to make it through the day without having to go kill themselves because of all the abuse and discrimination they had to take.

Right as the story begins we are already told that this woman lives far out in the country which gives the readers an idea already that this person is someone who isn't very welcomed or happy living within society. I believe that she uses this setting to convey the story of how hard it was for African-Americans back in the 1900's and how much of a struggle they had to go through just too get to one destination. She describes where Phoenix Jackson has to crawl under barbed wire fences and ends up tearing her dress. I think that this shows the hardship that African Americans had to go through as an outsider in society. There was very little leniency for them and sometimes none at all just because of the color of their skin.

"The path run up a hill. "Seem like there is chains about my feet, time I get this far," she said, in the voice of argument old people keep to use with themselves. "Something always take a hold of me on this hill - pleads I should stay."(Welty 60)

In this part of the quote, Eudora Welty, wanted to create a symbolism of how African Americans were treated as an outcast and being tied up in chains so that they wouldn't be able to escape. The author understood that African Americans had to fight through the oppression to protect their family and more importantly her grandson, who is the younger generation that she hopes will succeed and live an healthy life without having to deal with all the suffering. Eudora Welty brought the reader's attention into thinking about the racial oppression in society and how it affects many people's lives. Phoenix Jackson goes through these obstacles that tries to stop her but, in the back of her mind but she has to keep going to make sure that she is able to get the medicine for her grandson which, symbolizes that people should keep fighting for racial equality.

"I know you old coloured people! Wouldn't miss going to town to see Santa Claus!"(Welty 64)

This is another quote that shows that there is tension between the two races and she is treated as an outsider who was said by the white hunter who she encounters in the story after falling down into a ditch because of the loose dog. This clearly shows that there is some sort of aggression between the "whites" and "blacks". He assumes, without asking that she is going through all that trouble to just go into town and see Santa Claus, instead she is doing something important for her family. At each obstacle Phoenix Jackson has faced, there has been an metaphorical message sent out by the author to make the readers analyze the story.

"You mustn't take up our time this way, Aunt Phoenix," the nurse said. "Tell us quickly about your grandson, and get it over. He isn't dead, is he?'(Welty, 67)

This quote clearly shows that there was no respect for African-Americans at that time. She insists on hurrying Phoenix Jackson telling her that she is taking up their time and trying to get her to just tell them if her grandson is dead or not and get over it. Any other white person it would have been a different story, being a nurse means that you have to take care of patients and have that helping mentality, but instead she rushes to get her to go away just because its Christmas time.

It is evident that author, Eudora Welty, illustrated in great depth and detail of how important it is to not give up and keep persevering just because you’re an outsider and the colour of your skin is different than everyone else’s. She depicts that people shouldn’t be fighting for their lives everyday just to be treated as an equal human being because everyone should have the same equal rights as anyone else on the planet. Fighting for freedom and being out casted at the same time, I believe, is the hardest thing to overcome because there is nothing worse than being treated not as a human.

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