Almos A Man

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Almos A Man

Almos’ A Man

At the end of the story, Almos’ A Man, by Richard Wright, “Dave grabbed, pulled atop of a car and lay flat.  Ahead the long rails were glinting in the moonlight, stretching away, away to somewhere, somewhere where he could be a man”(23).  Although Dave considered himself a man because of his age, his gun, his job, and the train he still was a very immature boy running away from his problems.  
“Ahm ol ernough to hava gun.  Ahm seventeen.  Almost a man”(1).  The story begins with Dave expressing his definition of maturity.  He believes that his age and possession of a gun will advance him into manhood.  Ironically, this defines his childish irresponsible behavior.  After purchasing the gun, he remained outside until everyone was asleep so he wouldn’t have to give the gun to his mother as he promised.  In the morning, he gets up and goes to his job with the gun before his parents awoke, deliberately disobeying his mother’s wishes.  His boss, Mr. Hawkins, sends him to plow a stretch by the woods with Jenny the mule.  Upon reaching the woods, Dave decides he won’t do his work, but instead, shoot his gun.  He turns his head and fires the gun mortally wounding Jenny the mule in her side.  This shows his lack of responsibility to his boss by disobeying his request.  Secondly, it demonstrates his ignorance about firearms and his inability to make mature decisions about using a dangerous weapon without having adequate knowledge or experience in such matters.
He actually validates his irresponsible behavior by shooting the gun again and again in the night.   “…feeling the gun sagging in his pocket. Lawd, ef Ah had jus one mo bullet Ahd taka shot at tha house.  Ahd taka shot at tha house.  Ahd like t scare ol man Hawkins jusa little…Jusa enough t let im know Dave Sanders is a man”(22). Again he equates manhood with shooting the gun, which actually highlights his reckless negligent behavior.  He actually regresses to the point of running away from all the problems he created.   “Two dollahs a mont.  Les see now…That means itll take bout two years”(22).  This is Dave’s “train” of thought before he hops the Number eight.  He is running away from his responsibility to repay his debt to Mr. Hawkins for killing his mule.  He is running away from his parents who will beat him for his actions.  He is running away from his childhood and hopefully beginning his journey to becoming a real man who takes responsibility for himself and his actions.  

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