Compare and contrast alienation in “A Worn Path” and “In Another Country”
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Phoenix Jackson and the narrator of “In Another Country” have different views on life and they both have different personal responses to alienation. Phoenix believes in herself because she knows her grandson needs her. The narrator in “In Another Country” believes in himself because he has nobody else that will. Two different societies cause their alienation and they both respond in different ways. Their responses to their alienation develop the major themes of the two stories.
Phoenix’s alienation is caused by her race and the narrator’s alienation is caused by his race also. Phoenix is an African American woman living in America right after the Civil War. So her alienation was caused by discrimination by whites. The narrator was overseas in Italy and he had been injured in the war while fighting with the Italians. He received a medal simply because he was an American so the other soldiers in Italy alienated him.
Phoenix’s response to alienation is that she has to go to town no matter what and believe in herself because her grandson needs her. Her alienation leads to disillusionment. She steals money from the hunter because she is willing to do anything to get what she wants. The narrator’s response to his alienation is that he has to believe in himself because nobody else does. His alienation leads to defiance because he just goes on with his routines.
The theme of “A Worn Path” is no matter how many internal or external antagonists you come across you can overcome them. Phoenix’s alienation leads to her facing many antagonists but she overcomes them because she knows that she needs to get medicine for her grandson. In “In Another Country” the theme is that no matter how disillusioned you are you should always keep your composure and dignity. The narrator does not really keep his composure and dignity but he looks up to the Major who does keep his dignity because he knows he is a father figure to the narrator.
Both Phoenix and the narrator respond to alienation in different ways and their alienation is caused by different reasons. Both overcome their alienation to prevail in the end. Their alienations also lead to the development of major themes in “A Worn Path” and “In Another Country.”