Monday, January 12, 2015


“A Worn Path” Review Questions

Standards and Benchmarks Reviewed in This Assignment
Modes of Inquiry in English
Student analyses the language, content, structure, meaning and significance of both familiar and previously unseen oral, written and visual texts
Student analyses the effects of the author’s choices on an audience
Student compares and contrasts works, and connect themes across and within genres

After reading the short story, please complete the following questions:

1.In the opening sentence of “A Worn Path,” the narrator describes Phoenix 
Jackson as “an old Negro woman.” Later the hunter calls her “Granny,” and the 
nurse refers to her as “Aunt Phoenix.” Was the term “Negro” an accepted term of respect in 1941? Are the references to Phoenix as “Granny” and “Aunt” disparaging in any way. 
-In 1941 Negro was not a relatively respected or applauded term in the African American or Black community, however it was a term that was commonly used to refer to that specific group of people. Colored was also another term that was used, although again not favored by the ethnic community, it was still widely used. In the context of the story Granny can be viewed as disparaging, however Phoenix is aware of the fact that she is of an older age so I do not believe she takes any offense to the terms. Aunt is a word that, especially in the Caribbean household, is used to refer to any elder whether they are family or not, so I do not believe it is viewed as disparaging.
Mr.Boehm: Negro was accepted while aunt and granny were insults.

2.Phoenix Jackson lives in the Mississippi countryside near the old Natchez Trace. She knows the world of nature and feels at home in it. The town of Natchez, however, has Christmas lights turned on in the daytime, and the lady who ties Phoenix’s shoe wears perfume that smells like “the red roses in hot summer.” Does Welty contrast the natural wisdom of Phoenix with the artifice of the town?
-Yes, in the story Phoenix is accompanied by the natural and authentic surroundings of the country, which she finds comfort in. While in the town it is artificial and filled with technology unfamiliar and foreign to Phoenix. These two surroundings most definitely contrast one another.

3.What is the significance of the visual imagery regarding color?
-The colors help set the mood of the story. The bright reds and warm yellows represents the warmth and happiness of story while the blue and grays represents the sadness and melancholy vibe of the story. At the end the medicine represents the highest form of happiness…the pot of gold at the end of her rainbow journey.

4.Why might Welty have chosen the name “Phoenix” for her character?
-A Phoenix is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. This represents Phoenix’s (the character) knowledge, wisdom and age that we read about in the story.

5.How old is Phoenix? What does she mean when she says she did not attend 
school because she was “too old at the Surrender”?
-Phoenix is quite old, probably in her late 80s. The term represents that she was too old to attend school after the Civil war ended in 1865.

6.The grandson has swallowed lye, and such a plight was not uncommon. Do you think that the grandson is alive or dead?  Does either scenario make an impact on the plight of Phoenix Jackson?
-I believe the grandson is dead, due to the fact that lye is a very strong chemical! This scenario makes Phoenix Jackson’s situation very difficult and confusing. She continues to get medicine for her dead grandson who she has vague memories of. She must have some form of dementia, which would make a lot of sense due to the fact that we are aware she is quite old.

7.Does Welty’s reading of the story enhance your understanding of it? Do the 
comments she makes about the story do so as well? 
-Welty’s interpretation of the story is quite helpful, but it does not impact my views on the story. We are able to see the story through a third person’s eyes, which actually makes the story that more sad. 

8.  Compare/Contrast Phoenix to Atalanta.  What similarities or differences do you see in the two?

-Both are heroic and strong however Phoenix is viewed negatively, being called granny, while Atalanta is praised.