Transition To Adulthood Short Story

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The transition to becoming an adult is a somewhat magical experience in many ways. An awakening of the senses, the ability to detect and verbalize deeper emotions and the new and exciting responsibilities of the adult world are just some of the new experiences individuals journey through while growing older. However, as we examine two short stories, Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? By Joyce Carol Oates, and The Man Who Was Almost a Man by Richard Wright, we see that perhaps this fragile stage of life isn't always meant to be taken lightly. The main characters of these stories, Connie and Dave, are examples of how exactly the transition to adulthood and maturity should not be welcomed before its time, and the dangers of attempting to…show more content…
He feels as though his budding manhood is not taken seriously, and desires to feel that the other men around him see him not as a child, but an adult. The Man Who Was Almost a Man begins with Dave expressing his wish to purchase a gun so "...then they couldn't talk to him as though he were a little boy." (Wright 25) Dave places the maturity and wisdom that is necessary to command respect from others into the act of owning a gun- the ultimate symbol of manhood in this story. While Dave's father does not necessarily outright ignore him as Connie's father does, it is expressed through the dialogue in this story that he does not own a gun. (Wright 29) As Dave places the status of truly being a man into inanimate objects such as a pistol, it seems as if he doesn't necessarily see his father as a legitimate, masculine…show more content…
Where are You Going, Where Have You Been? Was published in 1966, a time when women's roles were still fairly family-focused and it was the expectation that women would marry and take care of their own home. (Bardy) If Connie had grown up hearing and observing that she was expected to one day marry and begin a family, all the more reason why seeking out men would make sense to her. Likewise, in the 1940's, the era in which The Man Who Was Almost a Man was set, men were expected to be the providers of the family, and the protectors of the homestead. Dave may have assisted in achieving financial stability for his parents and brother, but the other men he worked with liked to make fun of him. (Wright 25) The search for masculinity brought his mind to a gun- a weapon with power, that required skill to shoot, and an object that would help him to be seen as a

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