As Phoenix makes her trek across that worn path, she comes across a variety of other characters, many of them white and many of them manifesting signs of a systemic racism. When racism is allowed to fester long enough to become a system by which everyday life is lived, it does not always take the hideous form easily recognized by outsiders. The story reveals the often contradictory nature of those adopting the codes of such a system such as the big game hunter helpfully assisting Phoenix in a kindly manner one minute and then threateningly pointing his gun at her the next. The manner in which she is treated once she arrives at her destination would be a familiar example of racist behavior to anyone raised in the south prior to the Civil Rights Movement and for some time afterward.


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