The Man Who Was Almost a Man Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 36 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Man Who Was Almost a Man.
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Coming of Age

As the title suggests, Dave is poised between boyhood and adulthood. In various ways, all of the other figures in the story—Dave's parents, Hawkins, and the unnamed men he works with—threaten Dave's fragile sense of manhood. Dave's problem is that he is almost a man, yet his lack of social and economic power make him acutely aware that he is not quite one.

The story is structured around Dave's quest for a gun as a symbol of power, maturity, and manhood as well as the ironic results of attaining this wish— his further loss of pride and autonomy. However, the story's conclusion—Dave's impulsive decision to break free from the setting that belittles him by jumping on a northbound train—suggests a more successful passage toward maturity and independence.

Class Conflict

Dave's economic status is central to his struggle...

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This section contains 714 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Man Who Was Almost a Man Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
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.