Study Guide

A Worn Path Writing Style

By Eudora Welty

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Writing Style

Mythic, Other-worldly, Descriptive

When we join Phoenix on the first page of the story, it feels like we are stepping into a world from long ago and far away. This effect comes from rich descriptive passages that give aspects of the mundane world a fantastical flare. For instance, Phoenix passes by a row of cabins, but she doesn't say, "Now I'm passing a row of cabins." Please—that would be s not Phoenix. Instead the text reads:

She followed the track, swaying through the quiet bare fields, through the little strings of trees silver in their dead leaves, past cabins silver from weather, with the doors and windows boarded shut, all like old women under a spell sitting there. "I walking in their sleep," she said, nodding her head vigorously. (29)

Not only is this passage lavishly detailed, it takes ordinary objects (in this case cabins) and fancies them up, imagining them as little old ladies fallen under a spell and glittering in silver. Infusing the ordinary with glimmers of the extraordinary lends the story its mythic, other-worldly feel. The text is full of moments like this as we progress with Phoenix from location to location in short episodic bursts.

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