What Makes a Man, A Man?
There comes a time in a boy’s life when he starts pondering the thoughts of what it takes to be a man. Some boys believe they are not a man unless they have reached a point of maturity and mental intelligence. Some boys only want to be a kid their entire lives. For others, being a man requires ownership of certain objects. These objects can range from money, to cars, and to even owning a gun. Author Richard Wright wrote a short story concerning this subject titled, “Man Who Was Almost a Man.”
The story takes place in the south in the 1930s. The main character of the story, Dave, wants to be a man because all of the townspeople keep referring to him as a child. Dave thinks if he buys a gun, owning a gun will make him a man. He asks his mother if he can buy a gun. At first, she told him no, but after some kissing up to his mother, she gives him the money to buy a gun only if he promises to give the gun to his father when he returns home with it. Dave waits until dark before returning home with the gun so he can take it to work with him the next day. Dave badly wanted to fire his gun. Working on a plantation as a laborer, Dave takes his mule and plow far enough away from everyone so they won’t hear the gunshot. He accidentally shoots and kills his employer’s mule and the townspeople make fun of him, referring to him as an immature child. He buries the gun after he was told he was to pay for the mule. Later, after Dave yearns to fire the gun again, he digs the gun up late at night and jumps on a train to go somewhere where he would be viewed as a man to others for having a gun. One may argue whether it is right or wrong for Dave to own a gun in order for him to become a man.
“Shucks, a man oughta have a little gun aftah he done worked hard all day,” Dave thought as he journeyed home. (Wright 402) Dave is a seventeen year old on the brink to manhood. He thought if he had a gun, everyone would respect him as a man....
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