Comp B/Mrs. Light
Who Am I
In Richard Wright’s “ The Man Who Was Almost a Man”, the main character is a 17-year-old child, Dave Saunders. Dave is shown as a troubled child who does nothing but work and spend time at home with his family. Dave struggles with who he is as a man so he has to experience different scenarios to find his manhood. Wright’s theme of identity was revealed through Dave Saunders by expressing his feelings towards facing adulthood.
Dave’s family is a struggling African-American family that lives in poverty. This is made clear when his mother says, “Waal that’s good. We kin use it in the outhouse”, referring to the store catalog. His family is at a financial point where the bare necessities cannot be met. They have to find resourceful methods of meeting their necessities. This is one of many clues that point to the Saunders family being of low social status. The family seems to be struggling to a point where Dave isn’t even trusted with his own money. Dave is not trusted with his own money because his parents seem to think he would spend it unwisely. This makes David feel like his manhood is jeopardized. David’s mother, on the other hand, makes it quite clear that as a family every penny counts and that’s why she takes care of Dave’s money.
The next analysis that can be observed is the family relationship. Dave’s father intimidates him and this is made clear when he wants to buy a gun yet he will only ask his mom for money when she is alone. Dave feels less in control around his father, which leads to him feeling less like a man. The relationship between father and son in this story is an uncertain one with a lot of intimidation. Dave knows that he can do better by asking his mother for money but even then he barely seems to stand a chance. His mother is hesitant to give him the money at first, which prevents Dave from getting a gun and achieving his goal of proving he’s a man. So he must...
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