A worn path by eudora welty

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  • Publié le : 2 avril 2011
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Jeunessed’Araby vs. Vieilesse de “A Worn Path”

“A worn path” from Eudora Welty and “Araby” from James Joyce are two short stories written in two different periods but both using of the same themes to emphasize the difficulty to achieve his goal, whatever the age of the person. “A Worn Path” written by Eudora Welty, probably takes place in Mississippi during the 1940’s. PhoenixJackson, the main protagonist, is a “very old and small” African American woman who, during a “bright frozen day in the early morning” of December, starts her ritual long journey through the woods and cotton fields to reach the town to get a medicine; when “Araby from James Joyce takes place in DUBLIN, in the mid 19th century, period with lot of conflicts between Dublin and England and talks aboutthe difficulty for a teenager to grow-up in this city and deals with longing for adventure and escape. In the first text, by describing us so deeply the physical appearance of Phoenix Jackson, all the steps of her walk and the persons she meets on her way, the author points out the discrimination of the African Americans at this period, and emphasizes that love can empower someone to over come manylife-threatening obstacles. These ideas are also demonstrated into “Araby”, and shown in both of the texts when the protagonists have to overcome many types of obstacles as discrimination that hinder them in her devotion to achieve or not their quest to bring the person they love his vital medicine.

In “A worn path”, from the two first paragraphs, the reader can understand the conflict thatwill encounter the main protagonist, Phoenix Jackson, described as a “Negro woman” wearing “a dark striped dress reaching down to her shoe tops”. At this period, African Americans are particularly affected by unemployment and poverty. This fact is well lighted into the text, by the care and importance given to the dress of Phoenix Jackson during her journey. When a bush caught her dress, it is, forher, neither “impossible to allow the dress to tear” nor “to be torn now, so late in the day”. Moreover, the descriptive the journey itself shows that this elderly woman has no money to buy a ticket to take a bus. In order to reach the town, she has to walk in the woods and cotton fields, leaving in an “early and frozen morning” of December her place to arrive on time, and then, to get knocked intoa ditch by a loose dog before the barrel of a white man's gun. Here, Eudora Welty accentuates this discrimination by using terms of “big dead trees, like black men with one arm”, “black dog”, or such nicknames like “Granny”, “Aunt”, “Uncle” given to black people in order to denigrate them or denying their individuality. It seems clear that the author looks for pointing out the persecutionsexisting at this time. Those one can be compared to “Araby”, written by James Joyce. In this last, James Joyce describes the real and hard life and conflicts of the Irish under the English settlement, by accentuating also the personality and way-of life of his secondary characters and so the difficulty to grow-up in such a context. In these two texts, discrimination is exhibited by a heavy loneliness –both are living out and far from the place that have to reach (Phoenix Jackson far from the medical office and the teenage boy in “Araby” in a house "Detached," from the others on the street, but that, "The other houses on the street, conscious of decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces”), depression, drunkenness and purity, which will be increased all thetext long with insistence on the weather (“ A frozen early morning”, “short days of winter came dusk fell”; “a dark rainy evening”; “the cold air”) and the somber places like the woods for the journey of Mrs. Jackson and the (“Air, musty from having been long enclosed, hung in all the rooms; “dark dripping gardens”; “the dark odorous stables”; “a deserted train” for the young boy).
Both of the...
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