Summary Of Richard Wright 's ' The ' Of The Man Who Was Almost A Man '

1031 Words Nov 10th, 2015 5 Pages
Anna Holly Hicks
Mr. Cullen Brown
English 224
10 November 2015
The Struggle to Manhood In the world of “The Man Who Was Almost a Man”, Dave is the seventeen year old main character and narrator of Richard Wright’s short story. Dave is an African American sharecropper who lives with his family on a white plantation owner’s land. Set in the Jim Crow South, independence is a trait that not many Americans possess. Under Jim Crow laws, the status of an African American man is undermined. It is humiliating to many of the men it affects because they are often referred to as “boy”, and they may never achieve full citizenship due to their race.
The idea of authority holds a specific meaning towards men. Being a true man during this time insinuates that you hold certain governance over someone or something, like a white plantation owner will possess a heightened sense of rule because they almost have ownership over their workers. Dave considers the gun a phallic symbol that will solidify his power and authority that is needed for him to step into manhood. Dave has been denied authority at home because he is still labelled his father’s son. The Jim Crow South will also prevent him from truly gaining these traits because he is overshadowed by the white majority. Towards the end of the short story, Dave fantasizes about shooting “Jim Hawkins’s big white house” (907). This statement symbolizes white patriarchs, such as Hawkins, who rebukes the manhood of so many other African…
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