Dave Saunders lives in a world where all of his individual rights and privileges are completely stripped from him, strictly because of his ethnicity. His family and everybody around him live similar lives and that it working on a farm day in and day out and not seeing any profits. I feel Dave is humiliated with the life he lives and is sick of how he appears to society. He wants to seem manly, and therefore he decides to purchase a gun, making him look powerful to those among him. What Dave does not understand, however, is that becoming a man takes time and he is not ready for the responsibilities that come with it. Although he thinks that owning a gun will solve everything, they in turn result in problems that he cannot handle. A man in this society is expected to work to earn money to provide for their families, and that is how they earn their respect. Dave is ashamed of his background and how society sees him, which is why he decides to escape from it all at the end of the story.
When a man is attacked or verbally abused, it is generally instinctive for the man to stand up for themselves, not just for self pride, but because they are scared of what society would think of them if they didn’t. In the beginning of the story, the reader becomes aware of a situation in which Dave was involved in. He felt he was treated as a child by other handsman who tend to pick on Dave. This is a major stepping stone to the story, because at this point, Dave heads to a local store to purchase a gun. He is tired of being continuously taunted by the older men, and he feels that acquiring the gun will in fact make him a man. The gun represented everything that Dave wanted, and that it would solve all of his problems.
The killing of the mule represents a major change in Dave’s life. In a way, Dave feels as if he is similar to the mule, and he even says “everyone treats me like a mule, n they beat me.” Dave is tired of the way he is treated and fears the life of working for no reward. He wants something better. But one trait we see throughout the story, is that Dave is always very quick to lie. Whether it was being confronted by his mother about the gun to lying about throwing the gun into the river after killing Jenny, Dave would immediately result to lying to avoid punishment. Lying is a major sign that somebody is not quite mature. Until the very end of the story, Dave is always afraid to confront the consequences of his actions, proving that he is in fact not ready for the any responsibilities that come with being a man. However, from the point of killing Jenny, Dave threw away the life from which he has lived, forcing him to escape from it all, which in fact he is not prepared.