The story A Worn Path by Eudora Welty makes excellent use of symbolism to be able to construct some of the key themes that are brought out in the story. One of the core themes in this story is the theme of old age. Welty introduces the theme of old age by using old a symbolism of almost every aspect of the context and characters within the plot of this story. First of all, Welty introduces the main character named Phoenix Jackson. Similar to the core theme that the story seeks to portray, the main character is an old lady. Eudora Welty gives a thorough detail of the appearance of the lady. This is meant to create imagery in the part of the reader so as to insist on the main preposition of old age.
One of the Key qualities of Jackson Phoenix that are presented within the story is that she is small in size, her body is weak, and her back appears bent. Welty continues to explain how the lady’s old age makes it difficult for the lady to work. The author rights that the lady can hardly find her way over the hills. In addition, Welty brings out the idea that as a result of old age it is difficult to be able to protect oneself. Welty gives an example of Phoenix’s inability to protect herself from the black dog that was about to attack her. Her efforts to hit the dog make the lady to fall down into a ditch, which illustrates that her old age makes the lady vulnerable to various hazards (Welty 47). Welty also uses the theme of old age to explain the environment that surrounds the old lady. In specific, the author talks about the worn out path. This path becomes worn out as a result of the many trips that this old lady has made on this path. Therefore, Eudora Welty builds on the theme of old age through using symbolism of age both in the characters and the context of the story.
The short story The Jilting of Granny Weatherall by Katherine Anne Porter is also brings out the theme of old age. Unlike Welty’s story, Porter creates the symbolism that the attainment of old age is a stream. Granny who is the main character in this story is an old lady. However, Porter is quick to mention that the lady is highly reflective on her hay days. The saddening thing about this old lady is that she does not look at her past days with nostalgia (Porter 61). Instead, she looks at those days with a lot of regrets. This does not mean that this lady failed trebly in life. The lady might not have achieved all that she might have hoped in life, but the fact remains that she has made numerous achievement.
Porter uses the case of this lady to illustrate the fact that despite many people at an old age might not be content with their lives. They feel that they could have done better and begin to despair that they do not have the ability to improve their lives in any way. Porter uses colors as a symbolism to the disappointments that people experience when they attain an old age. In the case of granny the author uses the color blue to illustrate her hay days. The old lady remembers her youth days in the blue color. She remembers the blue flame of fire from the lamp that she used for her children in the night. Granny is happy about those good days. However, when she begins to despair about the old age that creeps in, the blue color begins to be replaced by the color grey. The grey color represents the despair that comes with old age because at this time, one can hardly do anything to change the past. The change from blue to gray illustrates a continuum of life. It brings out a transition from youth to old age.
The story Two Kinds by Amy Tan also uses symbolism in the building of the theme of social and cultural identity. Tan presents the distinctions between the Chinese culture and the American culture as to conflicting polarities. According to Tan, there is a conflict between both Jing Mei and her mother. Mei’s mother believes that America is the place where her daughter can flourish to unimaginable heights. Her mother wants her daughter to excel in many aspects such as education and skills in music. This means that Mei’s mother wants her daughter to acquire a new identity of excellence and great musical skills (Tan 405). However, her daughter is of the contrary. Mei does not believe that her mother had the ability to change her identity. She believed that if she was to change it would be out of her own will but not the will of her mother. The author presents the conflicting ideas between Jing Mei and her mother as a symbol of conflicting identities between both individuals.
Tan, Amy. Two Kinds: A Portable Anthology, Second Edition. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1989. Print.
Welty, Eudora. A Worn Path. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 2002. Print.
Porter, Katherine Anne. The jilting of Granny Weatherall. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1972. Print.