A Worn Path Summary

A Worn Path by Eudora Welty


The short story "A Worn Path" by Eudora Welty is about Phoenix Jackson, an old African American woman who lives in the south with her grandson. She needs to make the long trek into town to get medicine for her grandson. Walking with a cane, she stumbles along her path because she does not see very well. At one point she thinks she sees a boy, but no one is there. Then a dog spooks her, and she falls into a ditch. Luckily, a white man finds her and lifts her out. He accidentally drops a nickel while they're talking, so Phoenix points out the dog to distract him, which he goes to check out, so she reaches down and pockets the money. He returns and points the gun in her face, which does not frighten her, before allowing her to pass on.


She makes it to town where she asks a woman carrying packages to help tie her shoe. Then Phoenix walks into a building where one of the nurses recognizes her. The nurse asks how her grandson is doing, but at first Phoenix doesn't answer. Finally, her memory returns to her, and she explains that due to him swallowing lye a few years back, his throat will sometimes close up, and he struggles to breathe. Therefore, she has left him at home while she comes to fetch more medicine to help him. All they have left is each other, and she has hope that he'll be okay.


One of the attendants offers to give Phoenix a few pennies as it is Christmastime. Phoenix tells her to make it a nickel. She plans to take her two nickels and buy her grandson a paper windmill.




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