Becoming a Man
Coming of age is a young person’s transition from adolescence to adulthood. For most this can be a very difficult time and can cause a lot of pressure, especially for teenagers. In Richard Wright’s The Man Who Was Almost a Man, the main character, Dave, thinks he is ready to show everyone that he is a man. Dave wants people to give him more respect and treat him like a man; however, his actions seem to backfire leaving him with less respect than he had before.
In the beginning of the story, when Dave is introduced, right away we gain knowledge of the fact that Dave wants a gun. He believes if he shoots a gun then the black people he works with in the fields “can’t talk to him as if he were a little boy.” (Wright pg. 1609) Dave goes to Mr. Joe’s store to borrow his catalog so that he can find a gun to purchase, but he discovers that Mr. Joe is selling his own gun for only two dollars. He takes the catalog home in attempts to bring the idea to his mother. Dave knows that he can easily persuade his mother so he goes to her instead of his father. After a little bickering, she finally gives in and tells him he can by the gun since Dave convinces her that the family needs a gun. His mother says “Ahll let yuh git tha gun ef yuh promise me one thing. Yuh bring it straight back t me, yuh hear? It be fer Pa.” (Wright pg. 1612) Dave gets very excited that she is finally giving him the money to buy the gun, that he runs off without hesitation to buy the gun. The night he gets the gun, he sleeps in the field instead of going home like he had promised. While he holds the gun, he strokes the barrel feeling more power with each stroke. He finally feels like a man. Dave gets up early that morning and goes to his work. His boss, ol man Hawkins, tells him to take Jenny, the mule, and go plow the fields. Dave walks out to the fields with Jenny and after his plowing decides that he is ready to shoot the gun. When Dave fires the gun, he is shocked by the noise...
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