Comparing The Man Who Was Almost A Man And Paul's Case

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“The Man Who Was Almost a Man” by Richard Wright and “Paul’s Case” by Willa Cather both have protagonists who desire a life distinct to the one they currently live and use a train as a means to gain it. The train symbolizes being brand new and starting a life they have always wished for. Dave and Paul are the same in a lot of ways. Both of them wanting their life to be bigger and better than what they are used to and will go to extreme measures to get what they want. “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” by Richard Wright is about a teenager, Dave Glover, who is trying to break free from childhood and enter the world of adulthood. Dave wrestles with the tension of wanting to be an adult yet being viewed as a child by the adult community. When thinking …show more content…

They have the desire to run away in order to achieve a life they imagine is better suited for them. The train in both of the stories is a symbol of renewal. For Dave he uses the train almost as a rebirth into a new life where he can be a man, where as Paul uses the train to finally be able to live that lavish lifestyle he has always wanted. However, for Paul the train is what helped him achieve death when he saw that he will not be able to have the life he desires as well. Paul chose to use the train as a way out so he won’t be forced to return to the same monotonous life he had before. “He had a feeling that he had made the best of it, that he had lived the sort of life he was meant to live” (Cather). Paul commits suicide to preserve those last moments, ironically realizing once the train hits him that there was so much more for him to experience. In “The Man Who Was Almost a Man”, Dave constantly tries to prove to everybody he is a man. When he finally purchases the gun he feels liberated, “Nobody could run over him; they would have to respect him” (218). However, when it was time to man up and accept the consequences Dave chose to run. He used the train as an escape, hoping to find what he has been searching for. Dave and Paul could not face their problems head on and took the easy way out. Dave deciding to skip out of town when he did not get what he wanted and Paul committing suicide when he found out he could not live the life he

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