A Man Who Was Almost a Man

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The short story “ A Man Who Was Almost A Man” by Richard Wright is about a young man named Dave who struggles with being able to grow up and become a man. Dave has a hard time growing up and becoming a man because of his mother and his father. His mother realizes that he is not fully prepared to take on the task that a man would have to perform so she keeps him sheltered. Dave believes that if he gets a gun that the will be recognized as a man. Dave has the concept of being a man misconstrued. Dave’s lies indicate to the people around him that he is in fact not prepared for the responsibilities of manhood. Throughout the story, Dave tries to flip the truth in his favor so that he can buy the gun, by telling his mother that it was his father .for example, he convinces his mother to give his two dollars to buy the gun. He doesn’t follow through on his promise to his mother to give her the gun after he bought it. Instead he continued to lie. Like a child, he fails to realize that lying won’t protect him but only bring more problems. Being a man is not about recognition or power, but it is about setting standards and living up to life’s expectations.

This short story has two major themes. The first theme that I would like to analyze is the search for power. Dave feels like he is trapped in a society that takes his personal and financial power from him. He sees his life as abused and humiliated. He is forced to obey his parents, work as a field worker who never receives his pay, and the other field workers always ridicule him. The feeling of being degraded by his cultural society came form the different forces that keep him from achieving his goals and pursuing his dreams. The idea of owning a gun is a way for Dave to become manly and powerful quickly. He feels that having a pistol in his hand with give him power and control over others. This sense of power lasted until he killed his boss’s horse named Jenny. Jenny’s death put a major hold on his...
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