A Worn Path


Eudora Welty

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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.
Love Theme Icon

Phoenix might at times, due to age, forget the object of her mission, but this only underscores the deep love that motivates her to complete it. The reader is always aware of this underlying aspect of her journey, but as the story progresses and Phoenix steals the nickel from the hunter and then asks for another nickel from the hospital attendant, the story seems to complicate Phoenix’s love for her grandson with a sense that Phoenix is also out for a kind of personal gain. When it is revealed that Phoenix risked her life for the hunter’s nickel and her dignity for the nickel at the hospital all in order to have the money to buy her grandson a gift that will give him a sense of the wonders of the world, those complications die away and the force of her love for her grandson surges through the story. Phoenix’s love is not just one of loyalty or obligation—she endures the journey not just to keep her grandson alive and comfortable. Her love is more profound—she endures the journey to give her grandson a sense of what’s possible in the world, to give him hope. Just as a phoenix rises from its own ashes, Phoenix’s love offers her descendants a tiny step up, but also everything she can offer, in helping them rise up in the world.

Related Themes from Other Texts
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Love ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Love appears in each chapter of A Worn Path. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Love Quotes in A Worn Path

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

“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:

“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:

“This is what come to me to do…I going to the store and buy my child a little windmill they sells, made out of paper. He going to find it hard to believe there such a thing in the world.”

Related Characters: Phoenix Jackson (speaker), Grandson
Related Symbols: The Paper Windmill
Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis: