How was Phoenix Jackson manipulative in "A Worn Path"?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Phoenix falls in a ditch, she waits and a hunter happens by and helps her up. However, the hunter is condescending. He assumes that if she is going to town, she is going to see Santa Claus. Phoenix does not feel that it is necessary to explain the reason for her journey to the hunter. When the hunter steps away with his dogs, Phoenix slowly bends down to grab the nickel the hunter has dropped. She takes advantage of the situation in spite of the fact that she feels somewhat guilty for it. "God watching me the whole time. I come to stealing." When the hunter returns, he points the gun at her and asks if she's scared. This is a pointless and insulting act, but Phoenix doesn't budge and perhaps might feel less guilty about stealing the nickel. Besides, the hunter then lies and says he would give her some money if he had any: 

I'd give you a dime if I had any money with me. But you take my advice and stay home, and nothing will happen to you. 

When she arrives in town, she asks a woman to tie her shoe. This is not necessarily being manipulative but Phoenix does take advantage of situations and any help she can get. She is so resolute in her journey that she is manipulative when she has to be and not too proud to accept help when it is necessary. She is also not above accepting "charity" as the nurse calls it. As she's leaving the doctor's office, she manages to get another nickel (rather than a few pennies) from the nurse. She plans to use the money to buy her grandson a paper windmill.