Conflict in ?A Worn Path?
Conflict in Eudora Welty?s ?A Worn Path? was not apparent at the beginning. Why was an old sick woman in the forest during winter? The reason became clear towards the end of the story revealing the obstacle was obtaining medicine for her grandson. What kind of society did this woman live in that she had to go all the way from her home in the countryside to the city by herself to get the medicine? The conflict is that of individual versus society and the four problems that Phoenix faces as a result of this were her old age, health, grandson?s health, and state of poverty. ?Her eyes were blue with age. Her skin had a pattern all its own of numberless branching wrinkles…? (paragraph 2). This and many other quotations indicate Phoenix Jackson?s old age. Normally, in society there are benefits and services for the elderly. Perhaps Phoenix was too proud to ask. The doctor?s from the medical building knew about the condition of Mrs. Jackson?s grandson, however they did nothing to help. They displayed the lack of respect that was present in the society either towards the poor or coloured.
The fact that Phoenix ?kept tapping the frozen earth? mentioned in the first paragraph, conveys that she may have been visually impaired. Phoenix also suffered from an unfortunate condition ? senility. ?She did not dare to close her eyes and when a little boy brought her a plate with a slice of marble-cake on it…when she went to take it there was just her own hand in the air.? (paragraph 15) This a one instance where Mrs. Jackson hallucinates and talks to herself in the forest. Phoenix did not let her disabilities hinder her.
American society in the nineteen forty?s did not provide free or assisted health care. Phoenix was not ashamed to ask for extra pocket change from the medical attendant so that she could buy her grandson a windmill. That nickel was the second nickel that she had obtained. The first was basically through theft. She distracted the hunter in the forest and picked up a nickel he had dropped. Phoenix had no shame of the ten cents she had acquired through stealing and begging. Her perspective was that society had no respect for her, so why should she have respect for society.
In conclusion, poverty was probably the main conflict out of ?A Worn Path.? If Phoenix Jackson had not been poor, she would have been able to afford proper care for her grandson and would therefore be living at a higher standard. Had she not been poor, Phoenix may have paid for a cab or bus ride to the city. Also, she would not have begged nor steal for meaningless nickels. Because of a person?s economic condition, this society doesn?t seem to care for a their fellow citizen regardless of race.