A Worn Path Essay: Trends Of Imagery In The Story


A Worn Path EssayImagery of imaginative literature is one of the most striking features of such type of literature. The image that is created by the different linguistic means, causes the reader sensory perception of reality and thus, contributes to the creation of desired effect and response to the written material. Literary text is always characterized by a variety of form and images. Creation of generalized images in literary texts allows its authors not only to determine the status, activities, the features of behavior of certain literal hero by comparing it with artistic symbol, but also makes it possible to characterize the hero. It also helps to determine the attitude to the hero not directly, but indirectly, for example, through artistic comparison. In this A Worn Path essay, we will talk about the features of imagery in her short story “A Worn Path”.

Creative style of Eudora Welty

In her youth, Eudora Welty was fond of photography. A solo exhibition of her works held in 1936. Her photo album, which got name “ Time and Place. Mississippi during Depression”, came out thirty-five years later. During that time she became a famous writer, the author of books’ dozens. There were novels, collections of short stories, literary and autobiographical essays among them. If you need help in writing of any assignment, you can use of the best writing services online. The experience of photographer and writer combined in vision of Eudora. In both arts, she considers that ability to wait for a moment, when the subject suddenly opens and shows its authenticity and originality for the human eye is important thing. Process of literary creation involves two similar stages. The first is on the conscience of the writer: he has to be an observer of life, sharp sighted, grasping, patient and wise. The second stage is “manifestation” of the text. It is carried out of the imagination of reader. Style performs the function of developer. Welty’s style is deceptively transparent. Actually, it is more demanding. You can class her prose and get pleasure from it following the condition of carefully cautious, active reading, which approaches to the co-creation.

Using the “visual” metaphor, Welty says that a good story is not like a Christmas tree with its classically predictable lines and indispensable ornament on the top. Instead of that, it freely “branches” and therefore refutes our guesses and expectations. Culmination is not a spectacular twist, but the moment, which we can sneak up gradually from the distance to the touch and anticipating and fearing to miss during this feeling. It is also a time, when the “lyrical impulse”, which animates the whole being, will culminate the completeness and clarity of incarnation. Stopped moment “comes to life” for us. Writing style of Eudora Welty is closely linked with American culture of the twentieth century. You can find more information about this culture in essay about American culture.

Eudora Welty is lyrist, according to her character’s talents. She prefers the story to the other literary genres. She acknowledges that each of her three novels was born “accidentally” – they were reborn from the story, which was exclusively overgrown in the course of work. Welty likes concentration, hard saving of resources and at the same time principled “ephemerality”, sketchy, which is marked in volatile hint, implication, and flickering of symbols. In passing tossed detail starts to resonate with unobvious meanings. Sensuality, accuracy and ease of psychological pattern are one of the endearing characteristics of Welty’s prose. She compares the story with Chinese lantern, which is painted outside and inside. In Welty’s stories, surprisingly subtle effects are achieved through skillful (often paradoxical) juxtaposition of subjective and objective beings, explicit and secret meanings, gesture and movement of soul.

What did Miss Welty tell to America and whole word for five decades? She wrote about the life of her countrymen and neighbors. She also wrote about the seduction of youth and eccentrics of old age, family quarrels, love and loneliness, nobility and stupidity. In common words, the object of her writing was all, that fills everyday human life not only in the town of Jackson, Mississippi, where Eudora Welty was born eighty years ago, but also in every continent.  

To sum up, Eudora Welty used the system of imageries in her stories. In this essay, we will discern all imageries, which are met in the story “A Worn Path”.

Imageries in the story “A Worn Path”

The story “A Worn Path” tells us about an old Afro-American woman, whose name is Phoenix Jackson. She meets many obstacles during her way such as moat, barbed wire, thorn bush, dogs and hunter. Overcoming many difficulties, she goes in order to get a medicine for her grandson, who swallowed lye by accident many years ago. Her love to him is so strong and deep that despite of her age, she goes for the adventure every Christmas in order to get a medicine for him. In common words, “A Worn Path” is a story about everlasting love and devotion, which leads to the aim.

Which imageries can we meet in this story? There are enough imageries in this story:

  • the name of main heroine;
  • the path;
  • biblical imageries;
  • windmill;
  • birds;
  • trees;
  • lye poisoning.

First, let us look on the name of main heroine. After the reading of whole story, it is obviously seen that life of old woman is like a life of mystical bird, which is reborn from ash every three thousand years. Every Christmas, old Afro-American woman repeatedly goes for a difficult way in order to help her grandson.

The concept of path is associated with whole life in this story. The author of the story wanted to show, that all our life is endless journey. Our life has light and dark moments. In this story all difficulties, which are met to the Phoenix Jackson, are like dark moments of her life. Contrary to that, her deep love to the grandson is obviously light part in her life.

The story contains many links with Bible. During her way to the town, Phoenix met a snake, which hang on the tree. It has links with the well-known snake, which persuaded Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. There is also a moment in the story, when old woman cleans her way with the help of her cane parting her way from side to side. It has associations with the Moses, who helped Israelites to flee from Egyptians by the dividing the sea into two parts. Therefore, they could chase the sea without the risk of drowning.

The imagery of windmill shows us that all her path has cyclical character.She goes to the town for the medicine, return home and waits for other time when she will do her adventure.

We meet such birds as mourning dove, buzzard and quail. Generally, doves are represented as birds of love and peace. However, Phoenix meets mourning dove, whose song is like a song of death, sadness. Author wanted to mark that all path of Phoenix was full of sad moments. After that, she meets buzzard. These birds are sign of death and decomposition. Nevertheless, Phoenix is not afraid of this bird. At this moment, we begin to remember that name of main heroine is described as life of mythical bird. Author also shows that any bird, which flies overhead, symbolizes God, who observes Phoenix and her grandson. Do you like this essay? You can use services of our site in order to get high quality paper.

The concept of trees symbolizes the life and death in this story. There are evergreens trees, which symbolize life and trees with fallen leaves, which symbolize death.

Lye poisoning shows us also historical moment in the Mississippi. It was common thing among poor. Lye poisoning causes starvation and dehydration. In this case, author wanted to show us natural starvation. She shows us that medical care, financial conditions are absent for the Afro-American woman and her grandson.


The creative style of Eudora Welty contains in itself interesting approach. She uses the system of imageries in her papers. You can find a good example of various imageries in her story, which has name “A Worn Path”. System of imageries in this story shows all depth of this paper, which uses various concepts.