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Mythological Significance of Story "A Worn Path" | The Magic of Words Class 11
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Posted By on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 | 9:38 PM

UNIT TWO : MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN
A WORN PATH
ENGLISH | THE MAGIC OF WORDS
Eudora Welty

Mythological Significance of the story
In Egyptian mythology, Phoenix is a bird of great splendor (energy) that lives for 500 years. Then it burns itself and takes birth out of its ashes. Only one such bird lives at a time. The character Phoenix Jackson in the story is very much similar to the Phoenix bird. As bird, Phoenix Jackson is the single oldest woman living in the village. At the ending point of its life cycle, the bird burns itself and another bird in new form accompanied with great beauty and youth appears in the world. Same like the old woman Phoenix Jackson
who whenever faces problem, solves them boldly. She feels more active, enthusiastic to continue her journey. She never becomes hopeless. When she freezes herself in thorny bushes, she is active enough to go ahead. When she crosses the river, she feels that she is not as old as she thought. When she falls into the ditch, she is not scared. When the hunter tries to discourage her from going to town, she is not afraid.

The bird is the symbol of immortality because it lives for a long time and gets re-birth every time it burns. The old Phoenix Jackson makes a long journey, faces the problem, solves them and continues her journey collecting new vigor and courage. She completes her journey to get medicine for her grandson in a hope to treat her grandson. The courage of such an old woman makes her character significant. 

Phoenix Bird
Phoenix Bird
The bird also stands for longevity and passion for life. In the story, Phoenix Jackson emerges as the symbol of longevity and passion for life. She loves her grandson, so she wants to live longer so that she can take care of him for more years to come. Her love towards her grandson also shows her passion towards life. The incident in which she steals the coin of the white man also proves the same thing. She defies her age, circumstances of nature for sake of her grandson which also shows her passion of life.

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