The Man Who Was Almost A Man

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In “The Man Who Was Almost a Man,” Richard Wright tells the story of a seventeen year old boy working on a farm. The boy, Dave, is talked down to by the other fieldhands at the farm, and thought that buying a gun might elevate him to a position that would allow him to avoid their mockery and become more of a “man.” Dave’s hopes that a gun might liberate him really ends up doing the opposite, as an incident involving a pistol he purchased puts him 50 dollars in debt, and gives his parents further justification to collect his income. Ultimately, Dave escapes his hometown by latching onto a moving train. But, by examining several aspects of Wright’s short story, it becomes clear that the author is addressing how a variety of factors kept African Americans from achieving the idealistic freedom associated with the American Dream during the time period in which the story was written.
Wright never says it explicitly, but it is clear that there are a number of factors in Dave’s life
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Through an analysis of Wright’s work, it is clear that Wright was attempting to show the ways in which the color of a person’s skin and the socioeconomic class into which people are born could affect their lives. Despite being published in the 20th Century, this work still holds a good deal of relevance in the modern world. In 2015, the average hourly of a black man was six dollars lower than the average hourly wage of a white man. While some of this could result from the fact that fewer black and Hispanic men are educated than white men, college-educated black earn seven dollars less per hour on average than college educated white men (Patten). Even though it was published in a very different time period, the issues Wright highlights in his short story persist in contemporary

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