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The way Phoenix is treated reflects the suble discrimination black people experience at the hands of society. The hunter helps Phoenix out of a ditch but patronizes her, poking fun at her journey, taunting, "I know you old colored people...wouldn't miss a chance to...see Santa", and menacing her with his gun, flaunting his power and asking her if she is afraid. The nurse is impatient with her and assumes she is a charity case, condescendingly offering her a few pennies. The hunter calls Phoenix "Granny" and the nurse calls her "Aunt Phoenix" instead of "Mrs. Jackson", names which deny her dignity and individuality and show no deference to her age.
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