A Man Who Was Almost A Gun Analysis

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The short story, “A Man Who Was Almost A Man” written by Richard Wright is about a seventeen-year-old named Dave Saunders, who lied to obtain a gun and eventually killed a mule with it. As seen in the title, he was a man who was almost a man until he began lying and killing. The gun used by Dave expresses a range of ideas beyond itself. The gun represents numerous characteristics that Dave has and wants to obtain. In Dave’s eyes, possessing a firearm represents dignity and dominance, however, it also exposes his lack of maturity.

Firstly, the gun represents respect. Dave wrongly feels that owning a gun will make others respect him more. Having a weapon, in this case, did not increase his respect. His co-workers at the plantation tease and bully him, and he thinks that having a gun will make people stop treating him as a small child. For instance, “Could kill a man with a gun like this. Kill anybody, black or white. And if he were holding his gun in his hand, nobody could run over him; they would have to respect him.” (Wright) Dave states that he could possibly shoot anyone, regardless of race. He also talks about shooting Mr. Hankins house if he had more ammunition. He wrongly assumes that he (an African American teen with a gun) is more powerful than Mr. Hawkins (a rich, white plantation owner). He believes that having a gun will increase his level of respect from others which he currently lacks. Dave
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Dave feels that having a gun will make him powerful. He is tired of being a fragile child and is eagerly trying to become a tough, powerful man. “Yuh ain nothing but a boy yit!"(Wright) Now, having a gun, Dave compares himself with his supreme boss, Mr. Hankins. For example, “In the gray light of dawn he held it loosely, feeling a sense of power.” (Wright) Dave sees Mr. Hankins as the superior boss, with a lot of power. He supposes that he now has similar powers because he has ownership of a
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