Themes In The Man Who Was Almost A Man

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A need or want for power has always been prevalent in humankind. In Richard Wright’s “The Man Who Was Almost a Man”, the protagonist, Dave, of the short story is on a quest to acquire power and respect. Dave tries to acquire these values through the owning of a firearm in which he is met with obstacles and complex situations. These obstacles and complex situations express Dave’s struggles to become a man through the symbolism of the gun, the imagery of both Jenny’s death and the night Dave left, and the characterization of Dave’s struggles for manhood and his decision to board the train. Symbolism is a very strong and emphasized theme in “The Man Who Was Almost a Man”. Throughout the story, Dave is searching for power and respect. Dave feels powerless in his situation. Dave exclaims “Shucks, Ah ain scareda them even ef they are biggern me! […] Ahm going by ol Joe 's sto n git that Sears Roebuck catlog n look at them guns” (Wright 181). To achieve the values Dave desires, he decides to buy a gun from a catalog in Joe’s store. The gun that Dave buys is a symbol that represents power and respect. Once Dave obtains the gun, his hope for power and respect turns into “humiliation and entrapment” (Milne(don 't know if im suppose to use the editors name here because there is no author) 208). Due to Jenny’s death, Dave becomes ridiculed by everyone around him and is further indebted to Mr. Hawkins. Another symbol in this story is Mr. Hawkins and his house; both are symbolic of
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