Symbolism In The Man Who Was Almost A Man

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The symbolism the gun holds in “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” was that of manhood through the description the author had given us through personification, diction, and imagery. Richard Wright's short story, “The Man Who Was Almost a Man,” depicts the choices Dave took to display his manhood--such as purchasing a gun--to demand respect from others who mock him. Dave looks into purchasing a gun to accelerate his process to manhood and display it for people to respect him. After he obtained the weapon, he had taken it for a test run pointing it at the mule and--accidentally--shot the animal. Though he was caught in his lie of the shooting and now had to pay off the mule, he still continued to fire it off in his show off how he is a grown man.

Having made the mistake of shooting the mule now had to return the two dollar gun to pay off his fifty dollar debt and this doesn't sit well with him
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He gritted his teeth and kick the gun. Yuh almos broke mag arm,” depicts the immaturity Dave has. He wishes to be a mature man and he believes he can reach that goal through the gun, but once he realized the reality of what it can do, like to cause a “hole in Jenny’s side, right between the wound.” He was rather upset with instead of looking at himself to put the blame on.

During this time period speaking in such diction, “Ahm going by ol Joe’s sto n git that Sears Roebuck catlog n look at them guns. Mebbe Ma will lemme buy one when she gits mah pay from ol man Hawkins,” depicts the Dave’s background. At that time period, after the abolishment of slavery, most blacks didn't have the education, so spoke with a certain accent.

Dave has a false notion of a gun being the key to all his answers. He doesn't realized that the gun that brings him power also brought upon him debt and death upon an animal. Dave’s gun is the representation of his need to be respected as man with power and
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