A Worn Path and Signs and Symbols

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Symbolism is used to create a better comprehension, an atmosphere that surrounds the symbol, and analyze the symbolic meaning. Every story, poem or song utilizes symbols, whether it is obvious or hidden; it still conveys its message and purpose. In the short stories “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty and “Signs and Symbols” by Vladimir Nabokov, both stories are evidently different, but both use strong sense of symbolism of birds. The protagonist in “A Worn Path” is a woman named Phoenix Jackson, who is an elderly African-American who has poor eyesight. She lives in a small community who travels through the fields and wilderness to get medicine for her sick grandchild. It is a cold December day and when the Earths ground is slippery and unknown; she still finds the determination and will power to travel the distance from the love she feels within. A phoenix is a strong-willed bird, which often represents ‘a rise from the ashes’ or rebirth, and also symbolizes inner strength and a long life. The main character, Phoenix, shows these characteristics as she makes her journey. Although she is old and fragile, she never gives up. “Signs and Symbols,” is a moving short story about a couple who attempts to bring a birthday gift to their son who is in a mental institution. Unfortunately, their visit is cut very short by the son’s second suicide attempt, and they are forced to return home without seeing him. On their way back home, everything seems to be delayed and eerie. When they reached the bus-stop shelter, they spotted a tiny helpless half-dead bird twitching in a nearby puddle. This to me symbolizes the helplessness of the parent’s son and his struggle. Knowing that there’s nothing that can be done to help him, or make his sickness go disappear, he is just like the dying bird in the frigid puddle. This event to me was a possible scene of foreshadowing. In each short

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