Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path” in Graphical Representation
Character, Setting, and Plot Development
Before you can transform Eudora Welty’s short story into a graphical story or comic strip, you will need to analyze the story and identify all of its parts, from characters, to setting, to plot. Start by asking yourself the following questions and making a list of all the things you can identify in the story, especially those that you can visualize and turn into images and pictures.
- What key aspects of Phoenix Jackson’s physical appearance stand out for you?
- How does what she wears or carries add to your sense of her character?
- How does what she does with her body add to your sense of her character?
- What metaphors (especially visual metaphors) add to your sense of her character?
- What biographical information does the author provide to flesh out her portrait?
- What key aspects of setting stand out for you? What details (color, tone, and particular props) stand out for you?
- What changes in setting strike you as important? What details in those changes stand out for you?
- What is most vivid for you about the hunter? What stands out for you in his appearance, dialogue, actions, and behavior?
- Which other characters seem particularly important to Phoenix’s story? For each of them, note what stands out in their appearance, dialogue, actions, and/or behavior.
- List any thoughts and quotes—from Pheonix or other characters—that seem especially important. Explicate them.
- Plot the sequence of events.
Combining Words and Pictures
Before starting this activity, take a look at the ReadWriteThink interactive comic vocabulary. You can learn more about the techniques of graphical storytelling and the history of comics by checking links on the following websites:
Choose a single moment or episode of the story A Worn Path and experiment with different ways of combining text and imagery to create a comic book panel. You can use this worksheet to get started. Consider the following possibilities from least to most complex:
- The pictures and words communicate the same thing—e.g., a drawing of Phoenix smiling and a caption reading “Phoenix smiles.”
- The picture speaks for itself without words—e.g., two juxtaposed frames, one with an unsmiling Phoenix and the next with a smiling Phoenix.
- Either the words or the picture offers more information than either could alone—e.g., a picture of Phoenix smiling and a caption reading “She was as happy as she'd ever been.” These can accrue complexity when either the words or the picture really needs the other to make sense—e.g., a picture of Phoenix smiling and a caption reading “She pretended to be happy.”
Translating Stories into Comic Strips
After experimenting with individual scenes, your teacher may ask you to try something more ambitious. This time choose some single aspect or series of events from the story and represent them in a sequence of frames through comic strips. You may decide to choose between telling the story through a series of portraits of Phoenix at various stages in her journey, or through a broader selection of the plot, highlighted images with quoted passages. In any case, try to make your comic more graphical by filling in some of the details of the setting as well. You may find it helpful to use this worksheet to help you plan your comic strip.