There will always be obstacles that will rely on fate. He got a sweet look. Has been an unfaithful worker and takes his old job back again. There again, she sees someone reach out to her, but when she extends her hand, there's nothing. She conquers many obstacles in her journey to get her grandson his medicine.
Phoenix would certainly not talk using such lofty language and it is equally doubtful she would write that way. Send e-mail to with questions or comments about this web site. The hunter pointed his gun at her but she was not scared at all. Her last line explains why she collects the two nickels; she wants to buy her grandson a pinwheel for Christmas. Throughout the story, harsh weather and distance represent obstacles.
Laborers collapse after hours of shredding their fingers on cotton plants. That desire is to endow a real life event which could not be more mundane—a walk by an old woman to see a doctor—with far more mythic properties. . She kept on moving and came across a barbed wire fence. He tells her that she is too old, and even tries to scare her with his gun. The trials and obstacles of the journey, which Phoenix recognizes as such, reflect the sometimes random and unfair travails of her life.
She happens upon an old well of unknown origins—unknown because it existed from before her birth. The figure of an old Negro woman? They exchange brief words, and he thinks she is going into town to see Santa Claus. A white hunter pulls her out of the ditch and asks her about where she comes from and where she lives. Every move she makes seems to be a slow, gradual move towards her goal. One way symbolism was shown in the story was by the obstacles Phoenix encounters along her journey. Another character in the story was a white man who was a hunter.
First, a story in which a person is relating the strange and unusual encounters such as Phoenix experiences would likely be viewed as less mythic than mentally disturbed. Likewise, Phoenix also travels through many perils, despite her age, to get the medicine for her grandson. These all show an indication of her old age. The bird is said to come out of Arabia every 500 years to Heliopolis, where it burned itself on the altar and rose again from its ashes, young and beautiful. It is the only plant that remains evergreen in the harsh winter.
When she sees a nickel fall out of the hunter's pocket, she diverts his attention and picks it up, believing that God is watching her steal. The old woman is referred to as Phoenix Jackson in the story and her loss of memory and poor eyesight makes it difficult for her along her journey. She tells the nurse that he is not dead, he will recover, and that she will keep coming for his medicine as long as he needs it. Therefore, Welty had to find a way both to take the reader inside the mind of a person significantly less educated than herself while not limiting her own ability to write about that person in a way reflective of that intelligence. The verb choice here personifies the bush; more than making it human, it also indicates intent.
She then asks Phoenix to take a seat and inquires about her grandson. The path is a journey which can not be totally controlled by humans. She crosses it with her eyes closed, glad that she relies more on her feet than her failing eyesight to guide her. The reverie also suggests how her life might have looked had she and her family lived an easier life — a boy bringing her, in her old age, cake. She climbed up a hill and got down it first. She was an accomplished writer, ballet dancer, and painter.
Her skin had a pattern all its own of numberless branching wrinkles and as though a whole little tree stood in the middle of her forehead, but a golden color run underneath, and the two knobs of her cheeks were illuminated by a yellow burning under the dark. Lastly, the supporting characters in the story such as, the white hunter, Once again, a subtle reference to slavery that Welty uses. Themes Some of the themes dealt with, in the story are love, racial bias, and determination. She represents struggle, but most of all she represents determination. Other characters that do not appear to have a significant role in the story, but actually display racial discrimination, are the black children in the town of Natchez. At her first encounter she stumbles upon a white hunter. The main character is Phoenix Jackson.