A Worn Path


Eudora Welty

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on A Worn Path makes teaching easy.

Christian Overtones Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Race and Class Theme Icon
Perseverance and Power Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Nature and City Theme Icon
Human Dignity Theme Icon
Christian Overtones Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in A Worn Path, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Christian Overtones Theme Icon

Phoenix, seeing a bird flying overhead shortly after stealing the nickel, takes the creature to embody God’s judging gaze. “A Worn Path” abounds with Christian images and ideas, from the way Phoenix’s journey on the worn path seems to echo the path etched by Christ carrying the cross, to the way that the woman tying Phoenix’s shoes recalls Mary Magdalene’s washing of Christ’s feet. A phoenix is a bird that rises from its own ashes, a kind of resurrection evocative of Christ’s own. Consequently, the reader can see Phoenix as a type of Christ figure. By connecting Phoenix’s journey to the “journey” of Christ, Welty elevates Phoenix’s small journey to help her grandson into something more profound, suggesting that the “worn path” Jesus tread is not so different from that walked by Phoenix, and by extension that God’s judging gaze is watching, also, how those who encounter Phoenix treat her.

Related Themes from Other Texts
Compare and contrast themes from other texts to this theme…

Christian Overtones ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Christian Overtones appears in each chapter of A Worn Path. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
How often theme appears:
chapter length:
Get the entire A Worn Path LitChart as a printable PDF.
A Worn Path PDF

Christian Overtones Quotes in A Worn Path

Below you will find the important quotes in A Worn Path related to the theme of Christian Overtones.
A Worn Path Quotes

“Seems like there is chains about my feet, time I get this far…Something always takes a hold of me on this hill—pleads I should stay.”

Related Characters: Phoenix Jackson (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Worn Path
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:

“Thorns, you doing your appointed work. Never want to let folks pass, no sir. Old eyes thought you was a pretty little green bush.”

Related Characters: Phoenix Jackson (speaker)
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:

“Now comes the trial.”

Related Characters: Phoenix Jackson (speaker)
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:

“Glad this not the season for bulls…and the good Lord made his snakes to curl up and sleep in the winter.”

Related Characters: Phoenix Jackson (speaker)
Page Number: 144
Explanation and Analysis:

Phoenix heard the dogs fighting, and heard the man running and throwing sticks. She even heard a gunshot. But she was slowly bending forward by that time, further and further forward, the lids stretched down over her eyes, as if she were doing this in her sleep. Her chin was lowered almost to her knees. The yellow palm of her hand came out from the fold of her apron. Her fingers slid down and along the ground under the piece of money with the grace and care they would have in lifting an egg from under a setting hen. Then she slowly straightened up, she stood erect, and the nickel was in her apron pocket. A bird flew by. Her lips moved. "God watching me the whole time. I come to stealing."

Related Characters: Phoenix Jackson (speaker), Hunter
Page Number: 146
Explanation and Analysis:

"See my shoe," said Phoenix. "Do all right for out in the country, but wouldn't look right to go in a big building." "Stand still then, Grandma," said the lady. She put her packages down on the sidewalk beside her and laced and tied both shoes tightly.

Related Characters: Phoenix Jackson (speaker), Woman
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:

“We is the only two left in the world. He suffer and it don’t seem to put him back at all…He going to last…I could tell him from all the others in creation.”

Related Characters: Phoenix Jackson (speaker), Grandson
Related Symbols: Phoenix
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis: