Old age, memory loss, and illness worked against her with the quest through the woods. This situation is a big hint that she was way to old to be walking through the woods.
There weren"t many examples of this type of symbolism in the story but one was when she sees in Old age worked against her as she walked through the woods. And, finally, her mental transitions cloud the way she will act next. Several factors work against Phoenix as she tries to overcome her conflict.
What was a poor, elderly sick woman doing gallivanting in the forest during the dead of winter? Additionally, Phoenix has to deal with her current socioeconomic status throughout the story.
However, there seems to be irony between how this story tells of segregation and the way it is viewed today. Eudora Welty has the awesome talent of being able to do just this.
People around her doubted her actions mainly because of her age.