“The Man Who Was Almost A Man”
Dr. Lee Baginski
March 30, 2015
Wright, Richard. ""The Man Who Was Almost a Man"." Literature: A Pocket Anthology. New
York: Pearson, 2005. 202-213. Web.
The Man Who Was Almost a man
The story tells of a boy that learns quite a lesson when he wants to be treated seriously, like a man. Separating himself from the other workers and his family, because in his head being seventeen made him “Almost a man” (Wright, 202). Dave is tired of being treated like a child and believes that if he owned a gun, it would jump-start him into man-hood, things would change, “One of these days he was going to get a gun and practice shooting, then they couldn’t talk to him as though he were a little boy” (Wright 202). In the end, Dave’s return home was short lived, because he decided to run away that night on the midnight train heading “away to somewhere, somewhere where he could be a man…” (Wright 213).
In the story Dave separates himself in two different ways throughout the story: 1. He separates himself from the other workers on the Hawkins farm mentally. He saw himself as “almost a man” (wright 202) and wanted to be treated like one. 2. He separates himself from his family by the end of the story by running away from home because he does not want to deal with the punishment he would receive from his father, “He remembered other beatings, and his back quivered” (Wright 212), for the donkey that he accidentally shot.
Dave wanted to be treated like a man so badly, and thought that owning a gun would help that wish come true, that he would stop at nothing to get it especially not begging his mother “Ahma beg her t gimme some money” (Wright 202). He went over to the town store and borrowed the catalog that Mister Joe had, to look at one he would want to buy, until Joe told him that he would sell him a gun “why don’t you buy one from me?” (Wright 203). That night he decided to beg his mother for some of his money to buy Mister Joes gun, but his mother didn’t want to give him the money for such a thing “Yuh ain gonna toucha penny of tha money fer no gun!” (Wright 206). After wearing his mother down, she allowed him to get the gun “Yuh bring it straight back t me” (Wright 206) but only on the condition that the gun would be for his father “it be fer pa” (Wright 206). After he bought the gun “he had not come into the house until he knew that they were all asleep.” (Wright 207). He did not bring the gun back to his mother as she had told him to do, he lied telling his mother that “the gun was hidden outdoors” (Wright 206). Dave felt different with the gun in his hands, “feeling a sense of power.” (Wright 207), he didn’t feel like a child he definitely felt like a man and now everyone “would have to respect him” (Wright 207).
Dave’s return trip home was not what he wanted it to be. The gun, being a lot stronger than Dave