Symbol Anaylsis of " a Man Who Was Almost a Man"

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Tangie Singleton
Professor Quarg
English 102 CUA
1 November 2012
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The Man Who was Almost a Man
Manhood is defined as a time in life when the body has transitioned from boyhood into puberty and has taken on male secondary sexual characteristics. But on the other hand, to be considered a man also involves certain gender roles such as leadership, responsibility for actions, and careful decision making. In Richard Wright’s “The Man Who was Almost a Man” , a plethora of representations assist in disclosing the primary focus of the story. The Sears Roebuck catalog, the gun, and the train serve as three of the symbols that help to reveal that Dave has much more to learn about life, responsibility, and what it takes to be considered a man. When Dave borrows the Sears Roebuck catalog from Joe’s store, it serves as a window to a larger world of opportunity. The catalog displays a variety of goods that are far beyond what Dave could have ever acquired. To Dave, the catalog serves as an avenue to owning a gun and gaining respect from his family and associates. The catalog also reveals Dave’s obliviousness because “he thumbed page after page” (Wright 217), indicating that he was ignorant to the proper manner in which to use the catalog which would have been to use a table of contents or an index. Dave’s parents looked at the book as something that could be utilized in the restroom for tissue paper and did not understand the why Dave showed so much interest in the book considering the fact that Dave did not have any money to purchase anything from the book.. From the catalog alone, it is evident that Dave is not prepared to be a man. From the moment that Dave purchases the gun, it serves as a major turning point in his life. His gestures and attitude signifies that Dave feels superior to everyone. When he is untruthful to his mother about hiding the gun outdoors it only heightened the truth that he was not ready for a gun. The emotion he feels from owning...
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