The Man Who Was Almost a Man - Term Paper Example

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‘The Man Who Was Almost a Man’ is a story written by Richard Wright about a seventeen years old boy known as Dave, who was considering himself as a man despite him portraying numerous behaviors of immaturity. The boy would refer to himself as ‘almost a man’ and was…
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The Man Who Was Almost a Man
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The Man Who Was Almost a Man (put s), (your address), (Town). (email) (Phone number) 12th April 2014.
Barbara Ludlum,
(write her postal address, or can omit),
Dear Madam
‘The Man Who Was Almost a Man’ is a story written by Richard Wright about a seventeen years old boy known as Dave, who was considering himself as a man despite him portraying numerous behaviors of immaturity. The boy would refer to himself as ‘almost a man’ and was willing to pay any price to demand respect from the people, with acquisition of a gun being one of the options. This is quoted in the story "One of these days he was going to get a gun and practice shooting, then they couldnt talk to him as though he were a little boy". According to Dave, having a gun would prove him a man unlike the general perception of the public. Throughout the story, Dave is seen to be a frustrated young adult since people never took him as a man as he wanted and acquiring a gun was a way of getting power and would demand respect using it even if it would mean killing a man. “The first movement he made the following morning was to reach under his pillow for the gun; in the gray light of dawn he held it loosely, feeling a sense of power could kill a man with a gun like this (Wright 75).” “Kill anybody, black or white, and if he were holding his gun in his hand, nobody could run over him; they would respect him (Wright 75).” However, instead of gaining the respect he was demanding, possession of the gun led him into more trouble and ruined his respect greatly.
Some of the factors that were making Dave feel less of a man was the fact that his mom was waking him up every morning in order for him to go and work in the plow fields. To make the matter worse, she would go ahead and keep Dave’s money for him for she still felt that Dave was an immature young boy. Moreover, Dave is seen to be uncomfortable with the treatment he was getting at the field, claiming that he was not being respected as a man. All these factors pushed him to purchase a gun, which he bought from the olds man Hawkins’ store (Wright para20-23). However, Dave had to beg his mom like a little baby so as to be given some money to buy the gun, to a point of deceiving her that the gun would be for his father. Finally, the mother gave in on the conditions that Dave would be bring it straight back to her immediately he buys it as well as ensure that he return it to her every night before going to bed.
A critical analysis of this story shows a complete failure by Dave to make himself recognized by the society as a man. A man is a male individual who possess qualities like strength, courage, fortitude and most importantly honor or respect among other essential qualities. These qualities are however not gained through possession of weapons or by intimidating people. Respect is earned as a result of portraying a good public image by behaving as par the expectations of the society. Acquisition of a gun as a way of demanding respect was a completely misappropriated priority since it ended up worsening his situation. His perception towards the journey to manhood was completely misguided. Moreover, he only possessed a gun to intimidate people, but his childish behaviors continued to take roots as portrayed shooting repetitively. This was a high level of irresponsibility as quoted “feeling the gun sagging in his pocket, Lawd, ef Ah had jus one mo bullet Ahd taka shot at tha house, Ahd like t scare ol man Hawkins jusa little Jusa enough let im know Dave Sanders is a man (Wright 75).”
Though Dave was considering himself as a man because of his age, his gun, and his job, he portrays his immaturity behaviors by trying to run away from his problems “Dave grabbed, pulled atop of a car and lay flat(Klement, Giannoula, et al 175).” “Ahead the long rails were glinting in the moonlight, stretching away, away to somewhere, somewhere where he could be a man (Klement, Giannoula, et al 175).” Manhood is not achieved using force, intimidation or through the power acquired as a result of possessing weapons. In this whole story, a gun is a symbol of power or control and Dave takes it as a desire of masculinity.
Yours faithfully
(your names)
Works Cited
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Klement, Giannoula, et al. "Continuous low-dose therapy with vinblastine and VEGF receptor-2 antibody induces sustained tumor regression without overt toxicity." Journal of Clinical Investigation 105.8 (2000): R15.
Wright, Richard. “Eight Men: Stories.” New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2008. Print.
Wright, Richard. American Studies @ The University of Virginia. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2014. Retrieved from
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