The Man Who Was Almost a Man Essay

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Madsen Hardy has a doctorate in English literature and is a freelance writer and editor. In the following essay, she discusses the significance of the gun as a symbol of manhood in "The Man Who Was Almost a Man."

"Shucks, a man oughta hava little gun aftah he done worked hard all day," muses Dave, the protagonist of Richard Wright's short story "The Man Who Was Almost a Man." A man ought to have a little gun. Throughout the story, Dave, who is almost but not quite a man, never wavers in this conviction that a gun will make the difference and signal the manhood to which he aspires.

In this sense, Dave provides an interpretation of the significance of the gun, the story's central literary symbol. Armed with a gun, Dave believes that he will no longer be scared. He will be powerful and respected. However, through...

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This section contains 1,657 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Man Who Was Almost a Man Study Guide
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The Man Who Was Almost a Man from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.