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"The Man Who Was Almost A Man"

1037 words - 4 pages

"The Man Who Was Almost a Man" The Unfolding of his Character Through out each young boy's life, many experiences help him to mature into a young man. In Richard Wright's short story, The Man Who Was Almost a Man, the main character Dave is a seventeen-year-old young man. He wants to be thought of as man. Instead, people in the town and his parents still treat him like he is a boy. Dave believes that if he owns a gun, people will treat him like a real man. In his efforts to show his manhood, Dave displays stubbornness, persuasiveness, and deceptive actions.First, in Wright's short story, Dave is extremely stubborn. He believes that in order for him to be considered to be a man, he must stand up for himself during each confrontation. This is seen when he discusses the possibility of buying a gun with his mother. His mother yells, Git outta here! Don yuh talk t me bout no gun! Yuh a fool! (1414). He refuses to take no for an answer. Instead of accepting the fact that he isn't quite old enough to have a gun, he continues to beg her for a gun. Likewise, Dave again shows his stubbornness when he hides the gun under his pillow. His mother had given him strict instructions. She tells him, Yuh bring it straight back t me, yuh hear? It be fer Pa (1414). Here, he knows that once he relinquishes his control over the gun, he will never get it back. In each situation, Dave is trying to establish his manhood through his stubbornness.Secondly, Dave is a very persuasive young character. One of his methods of persuasion is persistence. Near the beginning of the story when he wants to borrow Mr. Joe's catalogue, he tells him that is wants to buy something. When Mr. Joe asks, You planning on buyin something, Dave contends that his mother is letting him have his own money now(1411). Through this example, Dave shows that he is aware that Mr. Joe will give him the catalogue if he believes that he is going to purchase an item. Here, Dave uses his knowledge of Mr. Joe's preferences in order to obtain the catalogue. Furthermore, Dave also shows this persuasiveness with his mother. At only seventeen, he is able to convince her to let him purchase a gun. His mother warns him, "You aint nothing but a boy. You don't need a gun (1412). Here, he is persistent and continually begs her to get the gun. In addition to this, he also agrees to her concessions and plays on her emotions in order to accomplish his goal. This is seen when Dave asks, Please, Ma. I kin give it to Pa. Ah loves yuh, Ma (1414). These compromises are a sign of his ability to persuade both Mr. Joe and his mother.Lastly, Dave is also a deceptive and irresponsible character. He displays this trait when he is does not stand up and take responsibility for his actions. After shooting the mule, he...

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